PSC witch-hunt – a letter republished from the Weekly Worker

02 Feb

I am pleased to concur with comrade David Ellis’ suggestion to publish this worthwhile contribution to the debate about the recent expulsions from PSC from Ruth Tenne of Camden PSC, not least because unfortunately WW does not have comments on its website. Therefore in the interests of the free exchange of ideas it appears here.

Tony Greenstein’s piece, ‘No room for anti-Semites’ (Weekly WorkerJanuary 19), seems to have a lot in common with Tanya Gold’s comments in The Guardian’s ‘Comment is free’ (‘LSE Nazi games in context, January 16). Gold claims that “Anti-Semitic discourse is now mainstream and to say it all comes from the crimes of the Jewish state feels disingenuous and a denial of the past. Anti-Semitism is too old to sprout anew from nothing.”

Tony, a Palestine Solidarity Campaign member, will by Tania’s definition be regarded as “one of the leftwing anti-Semites [who] despise Israel, but are vocal on the crime of other oppressive countries”. Yet, Tony, like Ms Gold and the pro-Zionist camp, is bent on cleaning out PSC of any alleged holocaust deniers and anti-Semites. He claims: “It would be futile to deny that this has not caused major problems for PSC … Up and down the country, individual branches have experienced problems … In Camden, Gill Kaffash was forced to step down as PSC secretary after her holocaust denial sympathies became clear.”

As a member of Camden PSC, I was appalled by the underhand way Camden PSC pushed Gill out of her post as secretary of the branch to which she dedicated more than five years of hard work – making good use of her organisational expertise and inspiring many PSC supporters. Gill has also spent long periods in Palestine, where she taught English and helped with establishing community facilities. Moreover, she was a member of the PSC executive for a number of years. Needless to say, I felt compelled to object to the branch’s intention of forcing Gill out of her post and sent my objections to the small forum which was about to take that decision. Yet they decided unanimously, on the basis of a previous resolution, to go ahead with their intended ‘coup’ – informing Gill of it in an email which was only copied to the members of the forum who took the decision rather than to the full email list of Camden PSC.

Since PSC does not seem to have an appeal mechanism, and the issue at hand was too important to ignore, Gill proposed a motion which stated that in the light of the pressure on PSC from accusations of anti-Semitism – which has led to expulsion of members on such alleged grounds – there is a need to “demonstrate the importance of agreement on the meaning of racism, anti-Jewish prejudice and Islamophobia, as used in the constitution”. Gill proposed a definition based on the Wikipedia dictionary.

As a member of Camden PSC who witnessed the unacceptable ad-hoc mechanisms by which Gill and other PSC members were pushed out of their posts, or membership, I seconded her motion, being aware (as Gill was) that the proposed definition is only a basis for debate, to be followed by building up a coherent policy. Unfortunately, there was not enough time at the January 21 AGM to discuss all the motions and Gill’s was remitted to the executive, who presumably will discuss it among themselves and inform the membership whether it had been adopted or not. Since it seems this discussion will be carried out behind closed doors, I feel compelled to make my seconder’s comments public. These were to refer to my strong views about PSC’s recent policies on alleged holocaust deniers. As a Jew and an Israeli-born citizen, I believe the following comments as a seconder to Gill’s motion should not be disregarded by PSC’s membership:

“I am greatly alarmed by obvious attempts to ‘clean out’ PSC of alleged anti-Semites and holocaust deniers. My grandparents and many close relatives perished in the holocaust. Yet I believe that I, like other fellow citizens, have the right and perhaps the duty to ask questions about the background, extent and procedures/means employed by the Nazis for exterminating millions of Jews and non-Jews and the stages which led to the ‘final solution’. I do not consider the holocaust a taboo subject, which, in my view, is virtually hijacked by Israel and the Jewish community. If my questions lead to challenging the official narrative of the holocaust – which is promoted aggressively by Israel in order to defend the creation and the policies of the Jewish state – then I stand to be called a holocaust denier …

“Let me remind you that we owe a great deal to the Israeli new historians … who dared to challenge the Israeli national version of the so-called ‘war of independence’ and the steps which led to the Palestinian nakba. On the same principle, the Jewish scholar, Marc Ellis, has argued that the holocaust is not merely part of the past and should not be considered as if it was born in a vacuum – having no links to the present and future. In his words: ‘… To speak of the holocaust without confessing our sins towards the Palestinian people and seeking a real justice with them is a hypocrisy that debases us as Jews.’

“Marc Ellis, like Norman Finkelstein … has been hounded and vilified by the mainstream Jewish community. Is the PSC going to align with such forms of inquisition-style witch-hunt on the lines of the McCarthy era, when alleged ‘communists’ were hunted out in public? Are we going to implicitly offer support to the Israeli ‘holocaust promoters’, such as Matan Vilnai – the ex-deputy defence minister, who in February 2008 threatened Gaza with a bigger shoah (holocaust), and Dov Weisglass, an adviser to former Israeli prime minister Olmert – who considered putting Gazans on a ‘starvation diet’ in the aftermath of Israel’s onslaught on Gaza?

“By looking out for alleged, or imaginary, holocaust deniers and voting for a motion which makes it part of PSC’s official and publicly declared policy, we are placing ourselves on the same level of those who view PSC as an anti-Semitic organisation …

“It is clear to me that PSC should avoid falling into the trap of employing an ambivalent and open-ended definition of anti-Semitism, or get engaged in an anti-holocaust denier campaign – which may stand the risk of conflating extreme criticism of Israel’s policies with, or view any attempt to revisit and challenge the narrative of the holocaust as, anti-Semitism …

“I would submit that the PSC … should add the following statement to the executive’s AGM motion 2 …: ‘Equally PSC should endeavour to combat attempts of (mis)using the holocaust in order to fend off criticism against Israel’s policies and in employing the holocaust’s emotive narrative for defending Israel’s racist actions and apartheid practices’.”

The AGM adopted the executive’s motion, which says that “any expression of racism or intolerance, or attempts to deny or minimise the holocaust, have no place in our movements. Such sentiments are abhorrent in their own right and can only detract from the building of a strong movement in support of the fundamental rights of the Palestinians.”

Thus, the witch-hunting and ‘cleaning out’ of alleged holocaust deniers has become now one of the core policies of the Palestine Solidarity Campaign. This would no doubt have a significant impact on the work of PSC, the use of its resources and on its cohesion as a movement which is supposed to stand up against those who in the name of the holocaust justify the creation of a ‘Jewish state’ based on indefensible colonialism and racism against the Palestinian people.

It is not, however, too late to include my above-submitted lines (or a similar wording) in PSC’s mission statement, which is posted on its website.

Ruth Tenne
Camden PSC


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17 responses to “PSC witch-hunt – a letter republished from the Weekly Worker

  1. David Ellis

    February 3, 2012 at 3:50 pm

    Ruth’s letter is so fantastic. I fear this witch hunt will do for PSC what the clowns who run StWC have done for it. Yes they’ve gained the leadership but they did it by splitting, excluding, witch hunting, manipulating. They’ve gained the leadership of a tiny rump of odd balls and pathological opponents of permanent revolution. Fatah with their witless coterie of uncritical supporters in the UK have found common cause via the useful idiot Newman with some SA members involved with the Livingstone campaign to get themselves a reputation for fighting `holocaust deniers’ and anti-semites before the `decents’ start rolling out their `islamist’ apologist accusations against their boss. Trouble is they’ve had to pick on people who actually aren’t either to give their little plot some credence and are prepared to destroy PSC if need be.

  2. redscribe

    February 10, 2012 at 2:07 pm

    For the information of readers, there are two letters in reply to Ruth Tenne’s letter above published in this weeks Weekly Worker. from Tony Greenstein and Abe Hayeem.

    These are reproduced here. I note that Greenstein, while obviously correct in his laying of out the evidence for the historical truth of the holocaust, persists in missing the point of this issue in ascribing the erroneous views of people like Paul Eisen and Francis Lowdes-Clarke to racism.

    The stern lecture he also gives to Ruth Tenne, who is Jewish, does not manage to really explain how it is that prominent Jewish supporters of the Palestinians, such as Tenne, a relative of holocaust victims, or Gilad Atzmon, who if he were politically ‘mainstream’ would be rightly claimed as a cultural icon by Jewish people in general, can be induced to defend people who make such an egregious error as to doubt or even deny the truth of the Holocaust. Perhaps Tony would like to argue that Ruth Tenne is motivated by anti-Jewish racism for opposing him on this?

    This error has nothing to do with being ‘stupid and reactionary’ as Tony G asserts, but does not prove. He cannot explain why a not-inconsiderable number of people of Jewish origin, and people influenced by them, are prepared to expose themselves to public ridicule and hatred for expressing such a bizarre view, or why other Jews who do not actually appear to share their views on the holocaust, such as Ruth Tenne and Gilad Atzmon himself, are prepared to defend those who do.

    Could it be that the motives of these people are not ‘stupid and reactionary’ at all, but a misguided, emotionally-driven and incoherent response to decades of Israeli crimes and mendacity and the anti-democratic actions of the Israel-Jewish lobby in the West today? That this is a witchhunt is attested to by the fact that not only those who hold these positions, but those who do not hold them but defend their right to argue their views on democratic grounds are coming under attack in the Palestine Solidarity movement and elsewhere on the left.

    Letter from Tony Greenstein

    Ruth Tenne’s letter is a good example of the political muddle and confusion of Gilad Atzmon’s supporters in the Palestine Solidarity Campaign (February 2).

    Of course, the Zionist movement has exploited the Nazi holocaust for its own political purposes, thus demonstrating its contempt for those who were murdered. What makes this even worse is that, throughout the period 1941-45, the Zionist movement and its leadership ignored or minimised the holocaust, in some cases citing Nazi sources to rebut the reports that were coming out of Europe. Their one priority was building a Jewish state. They opposed the emigration of Jews from Europe to any destination other than Palestine. Between August and November 1942, at the behest of the US administration, the Jewish Agency sat on the Riegner cable from Switzerland that provided definite confirmation of the holocaust.

    As Saul Friedlander observed, “The rescue of the Jews in Europe was not at the top of the yishuv leaders’ list of priorities. For them, the most important thing was the effort to establish the state” (Tom Segev The seventh million London 1994, p467). Likewise, Noah Lucas, another Zionist historian, described how Ben Gurion saw the holocaust “as a decisive opportunity for Zionism … Ben Gurion above all others sensed the tremendous possibilities inherent in the dynamic of the chaos and carnage in Europe … the forces unleashed by Hitler in all their horror must be harnessed to the advantage of Zionism” (ppl87-88).

    Even Ben Gurion’s own official biographer, Shabtai Teveth, remarked that: “If there was a line in Ben Gurion’s mind between the beneficial disaster and an all-destroying catastrophe, it must have been a very fine one” (Ben Gurion: the burning ground 1886-1948 p851).

    It is therefore another example of their hypocrisy that the Zionists use the holocaust to justify their racist treatment of the Palestinians when theirs was a movement of collaboration and worse. And this is compounded by the fact that the Zionist movement used the reparations from West Germany after the war for their own pet projects, leaving the holocaust survivors, for whom the monies were meant, in dire poverty. Yet the more stupid and reactionary of the Palestinians’ supporters have instead taken to denying the holocaust, falling right into the trap that the Zionists have set for them.

    Thus Ruth Tenne speaks of “alleged, or imaginary, holocaust deniers”. Yet the position in the Palestine Solidarity Campaign was quite clear. As I wrote in my article, the supporters of Gilad Atzmon and Paul Eisen, who believe that denying the holocaust is the key to unlocking support for Zionism, have caused significant disruption in a number of branches (‘No room for anti-Semites’, January 19).

    Francis Clarke-Lowes, whose appeal against expulsion was rejected at the conference, wrote in an email on the Brighton and Hove PSC list: “You are, of course, right that Paul, like me, is proud to call himself a ‘holocaust denier’” (April 4 2011). On April 8 he developed his theme: “the evidence for and against the six million figure, the gas chambers and the plan for Jewish extermination by the Nazis … are quite technical issues …” And two days later he wrote: “I do not believe that millions of Jews and others were gassed in an industrial process of extermination … The traces of Zyklon B gas (hydrogen cyanide) are, I believe, far too low in the places at Auschwitz-Birkenau where the gas chambers are supposed to have been, and are much higher in the places where the decontamination areas were.”

    Holocaust deniers are nothing if not stupid. They commissioned an execution ‘expert’, Fred Leuchter, to write a report based on traces he took from the walls of the gas chambers in Auschwitz. Compared to the residues where clothing, etc, was disinfected, they were of very low concentration. Here was their proof that the holocaust was a myth. Unfortunately, they forgot that human beings require very low concentrations of hydrogen cyanide to kill them, whereas bugs and such like require very high concentrations.

    What Tenne fails to understand is that the holocaust occurred and there are countless witnesses to the selections, the disappearance of whole trainloads of Jews who only ever made a one-way journey. Where are the half a million Jews of Warsaw? What was the purpose of Treblinka and Belzec, since they were never labour camps, if not extermination? The evidence is overwhelming.

    There is nothing that the Zionist ideologues want more than to see Palestinian supporters embracing holocaust denial. It is proof that support for the Palestinians is not because they are an oppressed people, but because we are anti-Semitic. Unfortunately, some people are stupid enough to fall into the trap that the Zionists set for them. Indeed, in his own speech to PSC conference, appealing his expulsion, Clarke-Lowes referred to the “holocaust myth”.

    Tenne says that I will, by the definition of one Tanya Gold, “be regarded as ‘one of the leftwing anti-Semites [who] despise Israel, but are [not?] vocal on the crime of other oppressive countries’. Yet, Tony, like Ms Gold and the pro-Zionist camp, is bent on cleaning out PSC of any alleged holocaust deniers and anti-Semites.”

    This is a non-sequitur. The second sentence bears no logical relationship to the first. Yes, I will be considered an anti-Semite by the Zionists’ definition. The point is that I don’t accept their definition! Ruth, like most Atzmonites, falls into the trap of believing the enemy’s propaganda.

    The decision of Camden PSC to remove Gill Kaffash as secretary, in the light of her consistent support for Paul Eisen, an open holocaust denier, is to be welcomed. However, that was the decision of the local group. It had nothing to do with national PSC.

    Ruth speaks of the definition of racism that she and Kaffash proposed. But what a definition. If it had been debated, it would have gone the same way as Kaffash’s other amendment and been overwhelmingly defeated. It was too clever by half. So clever that not only did it exclude holocaust denial, but also anti-Muslim racism and anti-Arab racism, from its remit, since they are primarily cultural, not biological.

    The rest of Ruth’s letter is equally incoherent. It starts off by describing the death of her grandparents and relatives in the holocaust, then talks of the “holocaust narrative” of the Zionists. It is irrelevant whether five or seven million died. What makes one a holocaust denier is if you deny that there was systematic extermination and intentionality, coupled with the use of poisonous gas to aid this task. There can be no doubt about the use of poisonous gas. Even David Irving conceded this in his libel action against Penguin. It was, after all, mentally and physically handicapped Germans who were first gassed, between 1939 and 1941, so this is hardly something conjured out of thin air.

    We simply don’t know how many Jews (or gypsies) were murdered. The records of many Jewish communities vanished with those communities. An unknown number of Jews fled into the USSR, possibly as many as 1.5 million. There are plenty of unknowns about the holocaust, just as there is in physics and astronomy, but who when debating the virtues of the big bang would start arguing that the sun goes round the earth?

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

    Tenne speaks with authority, as a Jewish person whose relatives perished in the holocaust. I have to tell her that, according to Atzmon’s Not in my name, “Jews cannot criticise Zionism in the name of their ethnic belonging because such an act is in itself an approval of Zionism.” She too is, by her mentor’s definition, a Zionist!

    Letter from Abe Hayeem

    Ruth Tenne’s letter draws a parallel between unravelling the Zionist mythology about the foundation of the state of Israel – which needs to be challenged to reveal the truth of events surrounding it – and ‘revisiting’ the facts and events of the holocaust, of which there is universally recognised and meticulous documentation.

    She fails to see the distinction between the use of the holocaust as emotional blackmail (which every anti-racist is against) and denying or questioning the holocaust, which is a diversionary tactic employed by true anti-Semites. She conflates challenging the Zionist narrative of 1948 with the need to challenge the facts of the holocaust, a dangerously misguided and misleading approach. The PSC had every right to establish its anti-racist credentials against those mischief-makers who are detracting from the Palestinian struggle by introducing the deliberately fractious element of holocaust questioning, which has nothing to do with the Palestinian struggle and campaigning. This has the effect of diverting attention from action and campaigning, and playing into Zionists’ hands by trying to defend the holocaust deniers, and giving them meat to accuse the PSC of tolerating anti-Semitism.

    Tenne erroneously quotes eminent historians like Pappe, Finkelstein and Mark Ellis in their challenging of Zionist history or the use of the holocaust. But they have never questioned the clear historical evidence of the holocaust itself – a tactic used by anti-Semites. Omar Barghouti, the leading Palestinian supporter of the boycott, divestment and sanctions movement, very specifically stated at the PSC annual general meeting that there was absolutely no room for anti-Semitism, racism or for holocaust minimising or denial.

    Anyone using the ‘witch-hunt’ description for the PSC places that person firmly in the court of defending the deniers, which does not enhance a reputation of the same person being a discerning critic of the Zionist state, and being able to sift out what needs to be challenged and what damages one’s case. Unfortunately, Ruth Tenne’s statement backing her and Gill Kaffash’s motion to the PSC executive will make them even more likely to confirm that the action taken by the AGM in removing avowed holocaust deniers was the right one and more likely to refuse their muddled and illogical motion and statement.

  3. spoonfeeder1945

    February 11, 2012 at 1:35 am

    The PSC has made it clear that anti-Semitism cannot be ‘grandfather claused’ in using the formula ‘I have worked for the PSC too long and too hard to be evicted merely for spreading Holocaust denial.’

    It was common among the Atzmonites to clam that a PSC engaged in rooting out anti-Semitism was a PSC too busy to attend to more pressing matters of more direct benefit to the Palestinians. Yet as Tenne shows, the discussion of Holocaust denial was actually cast aside to the executive on time considerations. Thus she demolishes another excuse of those who fought to keep the PSC anti-Semite-friendly.

  4. redscribe

    February 11, 2012 at 7:47 am

    That is completely incoherent. The PSC still cannot explain why so many of the alleged anti-semites it is purging are Jewish themselves and even those who are not tend to be influenced by people who are. No political explanation of this is forthcoming, none whatsoever, except that the people so concerned are apparently ‘stupid and reactionary’.

    What is interesting about this person’s remarks about ‘grandfather caused’ is his admission that the people being purged as anti-semitic are long time cadre of PSC, who have given in some cases decades of work to the organisation. This begs other questions – how did the experience of these long term members and leaders of PSC lead them to become ‘anti-semites’? This is particularly pertinent for the Jewish ones, but also for others who as I pointed out are often influened by the Jewish ones.

    Is PSC a kind of factory that turns left-wing Jews and their non-Jewish associates into rabid ‘Jew-haters’? I am sure that the Zionists observing this issue – and laughing themselves silly – will say ‘of course it is’ to this question. That is a coherent explanation, that Palestinian Solidarity is inherently anti-semitic and therefore what has happened is just natural.

    There is another coherent political explanation for this, which is laid out in my review of Gilad Atzmon’s book The Wandering Who?, which is basically that this phenomenon, of Jewish ‘anti-semitism’ is not racist in motivation, but a product of guilt at being born into a people who are engaged in monstrous racist crimes against the Palestinian people. In other words, its core motivation is not racism, but rather revulsion at the racism of one’s own people. It is an emotional over-reaction to those crimes.

    Those are two coherent explanations.

    PSC, though, and Tony Greenstein, do not have any political explanation for this except that the people involved are ‘stupid and reactionary’. Which is not an explanation, quite frankly, it is just apolitical abuse. And the fact that PSC does not have a coherent political explanation for this means that it will bite them on the backside again and again.

  5. spoonfeeder1945

    February 11, 2012 at 7:00 pm

    I am charmed by your naïve presumption that Jews can’t be anti-Semites. Would that it were true. But that is a very helpful confusion to have — helpful to Jewish anti-Semites, that is. The political explanation is quite simple: Atzmon’s Jewish background, and the confusion it engenders in people like you, is the only thing that has kept him from being called out long before. Were he Gerard Cranmer-Windsor rather than Gilad Atzmon, nobody would have given his Jew-baiting a moment of their time. Atzmon was able, for a while, to capitalize on the man-bites-dog aspect of a Jewish anti-Semite, and the confusion it engendered. Once it was honestly confronted, it has been seen through, and that is why the Atzmonite wing has been unamiguously swept aside by the larger movement.

    I do not claim that the PSC manufactures anti-Semites. For a while, it attracted some. Last year it realized that it had attracted enough among its memberships to be a public embarrassment, and handled it promptly at the next AGM.

    Now, if you’re going to argue that there is in any real sense any sort of historical ambiguity about the question of whether or not there were, eg, homicidal gas chambers at Auschwitz, you are hopping straight out the rationality airlock and into the vacuum of ‘deliberation’-esque nonsense. Surely you’re not going to argue that?

    Your defense of Atzmon presumes that there is no basic moral difference between the question, say, ‘At what point did the Nazis begin their program of genocide?’ versus ‘Isn’t it possible that the gas chambers of Auschwitz didn’t exist after all and were invented from whole cloth in a centralized program of massive international propaganda?’

    These are of course two entirely different categories of question. One is a legitimate point of inquiry among professional historians of WWII and Jewish history, while the other is the product of anti-Semitic conspiracy mongering easily traced to the anti-Semites of the far right in the 1970s and 1980s — Zündel, App, Weber, Carto — and has been thoroughly and definitively debunked.

    Someone like Gilad Atzmon knows this division, although he tries to intentionally efface the distinction when he uses phrases like ‘why won’t the zionists let us question the Holocaust’ as a means to muddle the two categories together. But ask Atzmon directly about whether or not he personally believes it is possible that the gas chambers were made up, and he will do everything in his power to avoid making a direct answer. Suddenly his already diffuse and nebulous and circuitous writing takes on seven more layers of cloudbank. Why? Because he knows that a specific and pointed answer would shine through all his carefully crafted obfuscation.

    This is the basic disingenuousness of Gilad Atzmon’s bafflegab on the topic, and it is good to see the PSC peer through the intentional befogging to the anti-Semitic core underneath.

    The argument that the PSC is consumed, or will be consumed, in a ‘McCarthyist witch hunt’ is simply not borne out by the evidence; just visit the PSC’s site to see how many other resolutions were passed. Clearly the Holocaust denial issue is not preventing the PSC from getting its work done.

  6. redscribe

    February 11, 2012 at 8:12 pm

    “I am charmed by your naïve presumption that Jews can’t be anti-Semites. Would that it were true. But that is a very helpful confusion to have — helpful to Jewish anti-Semites, that is. The political explanation is quite simple: Atzmon’s Jewish background, and the confusion it engenders in people like you, is the only thing that has kept him from being called out long before.”

    The problem is that the logic of this is simply circular, and therefore meaningless. You see, for me as a Marxist, racism is not a matter simply of bad ideas. It is fundamentally about a power relationship between peoples – between peoples that oppress each other, between oppressor peoples and oppressed peoples. I am fully aware that it is possible, for instance, for oppressed peoples to hold racist animosity against their oppressors – there are several examples from history, from the Pan Africanist Congress in South Africa under apartheid with its slogan ‘one settler, one bullet’; to the Nation Of Islam in the US, with its theory that white people were the product of a mad scientist whose experiment went awry, to the like of Hamas today, whose positive citation of the Protocols of Zion and rhetoric about ‘killing Jews’ has a similar character. But anyone who equates that with the racism of the oppressor is a chauvinist.

    But, simple minded Marxist like I am, I have yet to see how Gilad Atzmon, even if his views corresponded 100% with the caricature put forward by his critics (which they do not) is remotely oppressive to other Jews. And that is what I am interested in, fighting racial oppression in the real world, and in overcoming other erroneous ideas that do not constitute such a danger through fraternal debate.

    I can, however, see how the current campaign against alleged anti-semites in PSC could be oppressive to Palestinians.

    The bottom line is that if an Israeli Jewish person wants to be a fascist, there is a very simple way to do it. Join the Kahanists, or some other bunch of sadistic brutes who get off on brutalising Arabs.

    What a minority of Jewish Palestine activists think about events long before both they and I were born is not a burning issue. It would bother me a great deal if someone were remotely in a position to do something similar today – to Jews or anyone else – but I think the people in a position to do that are the Israeli government, probably with its nuclear arsenal being used to strike a few Arab cities.

    The question above about my views on the holocaust is just a sign that our friend is unable to read properly. I have made my views quite clear in saying that Tony Greenstein is right on the factual question of the holocaust. This repetition of a point already addressed many times is not so much ‘have you stopped beating your wife yet?’, but rather ‘I know you don’t beat your wife, but I really think you might enjoy it, so why don’t you start?’. If anyone is trying to incite holocaust denial, it is this commenter!

    He has the same method as Andy Newman, who did not ban me from Socialist Unity and delete my comment because it was anti-semitic. Actually, the truth is that he deleted my comment because it was not anti-semitic, and even the tiny fraction of it he kept proved that I oppose holocaust denial. It was censorship for the purpose of lying. He lied because he is a conscious Stalinist liar, and that is the only way he knows of ‘winning’ an argument when he does not have a coherent argument.

    And the PSC cadre expelled from the organisation was not some person ‘attracted’ to it on an incidental basis. He has been in it since the 1980s, i.e for decades. and was twice its National Chair. People like Ruth Tenne are lifelong, committed Palestinian activists of Israeli background, some of the Palestinian PSC people also thrown out have similar long records. You can pretend that they are just some marginal group of people as much as you like, but it simply is not true, and no objective observer will believe it for a moment.

  7. spoonfeeder1945

    February 11, 2012 at 11:32 pm

    Your Marxist dialectic is, unfortunately, largely irrelevant for an organization — the PSC — which is not Marxist in any real sense, does not aim to be a Marxist in any official or unofficial sense, and which therefore is not bound by the Marxist doctrine du jour on shoes, ships, or sealing wax.

    More importantly, when your Marxist dialectics leave you defending overt anti-Semites like Atzmon and Holocaust deniers like Clark-Lowes, then those dialectics are a great public embarrassment to the Palestinian solidarity movement, and the PSC is well rid of them. There is a reason that the CP-GB was the only significant bloc voting against the Holocaust denial resolution; anyone not wearing the party straitjacket could plainly see that the thing to do when confronted with Holocaust denial is to show it unceremoniously to the door, not to engage in dialectical brocade-work about whether tis nobler in the mind to endure the slings and arrows of outrageous anti-Semitism etc. etc.

    So switch off the dogm-o-tron. Your position on Holocaust denial, if the way you are presenting yourself is in any way related to reality, is that Holocaust denial is like cigarette smoking: you don’t go for it yourself, as a matter of personal taste, but you find nothing in it offensive enough to condemn in your comrades, and will when challenged actually rise to a stirring little Speaker’s Corner dithyramb about the right not to have one’s own personal take questioned too closely on the matter. Of course, the matter here is not smoking but rather whether millions of Jews literally faked their own deaths for the insurance money — but what could possibly be anti-Semitic about asking such a question?

    ‘You can pretend that they are just some marginal group of people as much as you like’

    It is of course not up to me to determine who is and who is not marginal to the PSC. It is up to the PSC. And at the PSC their conclusion was unmistakeable. It’s you.

  8. redscribe

    February 12, 2012 at 10:46 am

    Your Marxist dialectic is, unfortunately, largely irrelevant for an organization — the PSC — which is not Marxist in any real sense, does not aim to be a Marxist in any official or unofficial sense, and which therefore is not bound by the Marxist doctrine du jour on shoes, ships, or sealing wax.

    I could not care less whether PSC is formally Marxist or not. The analysis I put forward corresponds with objective reality, and I don’t compromise on analysing reality correctly according to a scientific method.

    I’m quite prepared to work with all kinds of people – including liberal anti-Marxists like our friend, but I will continue to tell the truth about the Palestine conflict. I note that he doesn’t even address the points I made about the difference between the nationalist prejudices and and even racialised animosity of the oppressed, and those of the Zionist oppressor in the Middle East. Many who are not Marxists share elements of this analysis simply because it is a true reflection of the conflict in the real world. But not our friend.

    Ah, he is afraid of a little embarrassment that there should be people in PSC that reflect, in a diluted and more liberal form, views widely held in the Middle East among people under the Israeli jackboot. Well, if you can’t deal with that question without bureaucratic measures, and have to expunge such widely held views from your movement, then there is a massive weakness in your claim to solidarity with the Palestinians. ‘Solidarity’ with the victims of Zionism, unless they think and say nasty things about Jews! The logic of this purge is also to purge Hamas supporters, many of whom say similar things, but without the liberal emphases of Gilad Atzmon.

    It is of course not up to me to determine who is and who is not marginal to the PSC. It is up to the PSC.

    Actually, that is a solipistic conceit. Who is or is not marginal to PSC is a question that can only be determined by developments in the larger body politic. PSC can no more determine who is marginal or not than I can fly to the moon by an act of pure will.

    PSC resolutions do not rewrite history, any more than Newman’s feeble falsifications of people’s views change their actual views.

  9. spoonfeeder1945

    February 12, 2012 at 3:11 pm

    ‘I could not care less whether PSC is formally Marxist or not. The analysis I put forward corresponds with objective reality, and I don’t compromise on analysing reality correctly according to a scientific method.’

    Rather, it corresponds to Marxist ‘reality’, something which by definition you must believe corresponds to objective reality but quite clearly does not. Having seen the bullet holes in the facade of the Národní muzeum at Václavské náměstí, you’ll pardon me for not agreeing. Your my-position-is-flawlessly-right-true-and-beautiful pose is a helpful reminder that CPGB is Scientology without the movie stars.

  10. redscribe

    February 12, 2012 at 3:45 pm

    There is nothing dogmatic about what I am putting forward here. In fact, most of the dogmatists and tankies are on your side. Nor am I anything to do with the CPGB-ML who on this question were off-message, but usually your Stalinist friend Newman and these other Stalinists agree.

    It is you who are arguing on the basis of pre-conceptions, not me. Try reading my short article on Tibet and see if you still think I am associated with the CPGB-ML.

    But even these people are occasionally right on something. Even a stopped clock is occasionally right – twice a day, to be exact.

  11. spoonfeeder1945

    February 12, 2012 at 4:28 pm

    ‘There is nothing dogmatic about what I am putting forward here.’

    Yes, I have no doubt that the dogmatic Marxist take on Marxist dogma is that Marxist dogma is not and by definition cannot possibly be dogmatic, at least according to Marxist dogma.

    Yet at the end of the day, you are defending Holocaust denial, and — safely tucked into your dogma bed — sleep soundly all the same. It is a telling measure of just how far down the river you’ve gone.

  12. redscribe

    February 12, 2012 at 5:31 pm

    Bizarre to be accused of dogma by someone who ‘argues’ (if you can use the term) like a prosecutor in a Stalinist show trial. Or for that matter a Nazi show trial. Or even a Zionist/neocon one. There is little difference in manner, the same shrieking tone and imperviousness to reason. The same totalitarian mentality.

    Perhaps our friend thinks I was ‘defending holocaust denial’ in my arguments against a holocaust-denying Islamist on this thread. Just read down the comments to see the exchange. Perhaps he thinks I should have abused this devout Muslim as if he was a Nazi?

    There is more than one way to skin a cat, and there is more than one way to undermine unfounded beliefs like holocaust denial. The crimes of Israel, which are happening today, not in a previous generation, has created a new phenomenon : Jewish people – who are obviously not Nazis and who hate the racism they confront today – who are repelled by the racism of ‘their’ own state to the point of suspecting that the holocaust, which that state uses to justify its crimes, is a myth that justifies racist crimes today. Today, it is perfectly possible for honest Jewish and for that matter non-Jewish anti-racists to honestly suspect this and to make this error.

    Our friend is too brainwashed and politically insecure to even address this issue. Perhaps he is frightened that if he does so, he will suddenly turn into a Nazi! I can’t help him with problems like that, but I really do suggest he does something to deal with the fact that if anyone sounds like a brainwashed dogmatic automaton, it is him!

  13. spoonfeeder1945

    February 12, 2012 at 7:34 pm

    So you attack Holocaust denial when you choose, and you defend Holocaust denial when you choose, but somehow only one of these two is to be noticed, and yet your stance is ethically unassailable (by yourself, at least) because you have your good days. By this standard, every incarcerated mass murderer should be released on credit of all those days in which he didn’t kill anybody.

    Where, for example, is your republication of the two letters in the most recent WW, both from Jews, both strongly repudiating Tenne, the letter from Hayeem particularly effectively? You seem to have ‘forgotten’ to add them to the discussion, as they show how your position is being rejected and left behind. How astonishing an omission. How convenient. How absolutely unpredictable and not at all expected.

    Again you demonstrate that you are perfectly willing to tolerate Holocaust denial when you find it politically expedient to do so, and again you lean on a scattered sprinkling of a few token Jews to kosherize your stance. Emphasis on the word ‘token’, as in, your argument is embarrassingly awash in Jewish tokenism. If I find four Jews who think Marilyn Monroe was abducted by space aliens, does that belief become somehow ‘Jewish’ — as long as I can somehow rhetoric-o-manufacture a Rube-Goldbergian way to use it to condemn Israel? Should the undercover moonbeaming of Marilyn become a cornerstone of our professed understanding of the generalized Jewish reaction to Marilyn Monroe? Or would any fool with the IQ of a salad fork see and reject the attempt at tokenism, just as they do yours?

    It would also be interesting, since you insist, insist, insist that you are not wearing a political straitjacket that forbids certain forms of heresy from passing through your keyboard — you insist that you are not a number but a free man — whether you recognize, even academically, even statistically, the possibility that one can become a Holocaust denier without being driven into it by the zionists. I know that you want to instrumentalize the phenomenon of Holocaust denial as a weapon against zionism, and therefore you will try to highlight whatever linkage you claim as loudly and frequently as possible. But are you willing, in a concession to reality over dogma, to admit the possibility that Holocaust denial is not in fact completely, one hundred percent, to the last frame, to the last jot, entirely a product of reaction against zionism? Is there room in your mental framework for that? My guess is that there is not.

  14. redscribe

    February 12, 2012 at 9:15 pm

    “So you attack Holocaust denial when you choose, and you defend Holocaust denial when you choose…”

    It really is superfluous to reply to this gibberish. There is obviously something seriously wrong with the logical processes of someone who does not understand the meaning of the phrase “there is more than one way to skin a cat”.

    “Where, for example, is your republication of the two letters in the most recent WW, both from Jews, both strongly repudiating Tenne, the letter from Hayeem particularly effectively?”

    This proves that our friend does not bother to read the material he is replying to.

    Where are they published? IN THIS THREAD! They were published by me, in the second comment in the sequence above. Start at the top of the comments section and read downwards, if that is not too much to ask…..

    The rest of our friend’s last posting is completely incomprehensible and not worth my effort to reply to. I don’t understand what he is raving on about, and I doubt any other reader does either. I won’t break my own rules on commenting etiquette and say anything overtly rude about him, but there is no need anyway. It speaks for itself.

  15. spoonfeeder1945

    February 12, 2012 at 9:51 pm

    Ah yes, redscribe, when all else fails, feign incomprehension.

    Just took a moment to review the PSC AGM thread on Socialist Unity. I don’t think I’ve ever seen anyone lose a discussion as complete as you did. Are you sure you weren’t invented by, if not Lewis Carroll, Douglas Adams?

  16. redscribe

    February 12, 2012 at 9:55 pm

    Still not read this thread then?

  17. David Ellis

    February 18, 2012 at 12:23 pm

    This `spoonfeeder’ clearly needs spoon feeding. Read the thread slick.


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