Louis Proyect: The Unrepentant Marxist

November 23, 2012

Owen Jones on Gaza

Filed under: zionism — louisproyect @ 11:47 pm

31 Comments »

  1. Brilliant. Thanks for sharing. In solidarity with Palestine.

    Comment by Doug. Smiley — November 24, 2012 @ 12:34 am

  2. Let us pile on Israel…it’s the American way!

    Comment by Hugh B. — November 24, 2012 @ 5:25 am

  3. No, the American way is to back Israeli barbarity to the hilt. Owen Jones has written a good book, “Chavs, the Demonization of the Working Class”(2011) He’s a voice of promise in the Labour Party after the disgrace of Blair’s so-called New Labour.

    Comment by Peter Byrne — November 24, 2012 @ 5:37 pm

  4. Hugh B. — Which Americans are “piling on” Israel’s brutal occupation & war crimes?

    Comment by Karl Friedrich — November 24, 2012 @ 6:06 pm

  5. There is rampant antisemitism in the US. Trotsky, no dummy, feared for the Jews in the USA during the 30’s, predicted the genocide in Germany, and thought of Israel more frequently than people want to acknowledge.

    But what I find disconcerting is the neglect of Soviet Jewry by The Left in the 60’s & 70’s, as well as the blindness of antisemitism on the college campuses.

    I have witnessed bitter antisemitism myself on The Left.

    None of this justifies Gaza. But I believe that international proletarianism is necessary to rid every stinking theocracy which has its fingerprints all over this mess.

    Comment by Hugh Breyer — November 24, 2012 @ 9:06 pm

  6. Let’s not obscure the issue in some vague cloud called antisemitism. The subject is Israeli domestic and foreign policy.

    Comment by Peter Byrne — November 24, 2012 @ 10:18 pm

  7. Trotsky, no dummy, feared for the Jews in the USA during the 30′s, predicted the genocide in Germany, and thought of Israel more frequently than people want to acknowledge.

    There was no Israel in Trotsky’s lifetime. He was one of the few that predicted the holocaust though.

    Comment by levi9909 — November 25, 2012 @ 1:37 am

  8. A mere 57% – rockets fired into civilian population, a most callous anti semitism.

    Comment by Hugh B. — November 25, 2012 @ 5:25 am

  9. Semantics. Or in your case, anti semantic.

    Comment by Hugh B. — November 25, 2012 @ 5:28 am

  10. “The poll shows that 57 percent of the American public believes Israel is justified in its military action against Hamas in Gaza, with only one in every four Americans saying the attacks are unjustified”

    “The survey also indicates that nearly six in 10 Americans sympathize with Israelis, with 13% saying they sympathize more with the Palestinians, and 11% saying they don’t sympathize either side.”

    Comment by godoggo — November 25, 2012 @ 6:56 am

  11. The only way in which comments about how much support Israel gets from the US public relate to the post here is the extent to which American public opinion has been manipulated by all those media types and politicians who don’t tell the public what Owen Jones did.

    American public opinion says nothing about the causes and effects of the recent Israeli attack on Gaza or the rights and wrongs of the situation.

    The high levels of support for Israel in the USA are actually a good reason why honest anti-racists should be grateful to Owen Jones.

    Apologies if that was the point someone in this thread was trying to make.

    Comment by levi9909 — November 25, 2012 @ 9:28 am

  12. Americans ought to be polled on this: Would you like your sleep disturbed by the noise of a tinker toy rocket? Or would you prefer to live in an open air prison with a major military power bombing you from sky and sea?

    Comment by Peter Byrne — November 25, 2012 @ 9:34 am

  13. I was just citing those polls to refute things Hugh B. said. I’m not saying I’m pleased with what they show.

    Comment by godoggo — November 25, 2012 @ 11:52 am

  14. Sorry Godoggo, I was so pleased me that Louis picked up on this and helped spread it, I was confused and irritated by the ensuing thread.

    Thanks for the clarification.

    Comment by levi9909 — November 25, 2012 @ 12:14 pm

  15. At this point I can refer to the Laquer book on anti semitism. I derive my remarks from him. I need also to ask all concerned to read anti semitic remarks in The Polish Eagle (US publication). There is a struggle against wholesale hate campaigns directed against Jews, some in “jest” at big stadium soccer games where the crowds mock Jews by wearing Stars Of David and chant “Jew”, or individual assaults that regularly occur upon European Jewish folk who have the audacity to practice their faith.
    Since persecution and genocide gave birth to Israel
    as much as religious mythology, it might help to recognize that when Al Jazeer puts out a
    multi part TV series on The Protocols Of The
    Elders Of Zion throughout the Muslim World and it gets ratings like “Dallas” , safe to assume that the peace solutions will not significantly reduce unwarranted attacks on Jews.

    Comment by Hugh B. — November 25, 2012 @ 12:22 pm

  16. I’m not sure that completely changing the subject from the original post and offering a completely bogus history of Israel is going to help either. In fact if it is true what you say about antisemitism in Europe, persistently lying for the racist war criminals of the State of Israel, then implying that this is an essentially Jewish trait, might actually be a hindrance.

    Comment by levi9909 — November 25, 2012 @ 12:35 pm

  17. In Europe (where I come from) the main form of race hate is directed towards Muslims, and obviously the far right are pro Israel and support the destruction of the Palestinians, as I suspect, does Hugh B.

    In football (or soccer as you call it), the main form of racism is directed at Black players and darker skinned people. A report before the recent (very good) European finals in Poland and Ukraine showed how the far right were targetting and physically abusing Muslims. Though the tournament itself was relatively hooligan free.

    Well done to Owen Jones by the way!

    Comment by SteveO — November 25, 2012 @ 12:55 pm

  18. Enough already.

    Comment by Hugh Breyer — November 25, 2012 @ 1:24 pm

  19. Hardly “enough” since I detected not a scintilla of anti-semitism in Owen Jones.

    Hugh must be one of those people who believes Norman Finkelstein is an anti-semite for crying out loud!

    And not since the last time in the 80’s I drove past the big sign at the Evanston/Chicago border that reads: “Save Soviet Jewry” have I even thought of that concept in connection with the siege of Gaza.

    This attempt to equate parity of responsibility in this conflict reminds me of the twisted logic used by angry white men when they level charges of “reverse racism” in America.

    Comment by Karl Friedrich — November 25, 2012 @ 4:11 pm

  20. How’s Don Smith doing these days? Mr Fruederich?

    Comment by Hugh Breyer — November 25, 2012 @ 4:15 pm

  21. He’s dead, Hugh, but you already knew that so what’s your fucking question?

    As you well know he had a fatal heart attack just before the US invasion of Iraq a few hours after marching in a pro-Palestinian demo in Chicago where one of the crowd’s chants was: “Jewish People Yes! Zionism No!”

    You also know that in all of Don’s pro-Palestinian arguments he had with you that he didn’t have a shred of anti-semitism in his body.

    Are you still hacking those no-fault divorce cases under the radar or did the Illinois Bar finally drum you out of business?

    Comment by Karl Friedrich — November 25, 2012 @ 4:53 pm

  22. http://www.counterpunch.org/2012/11/23/why-israel-desires-to-be-hated-by-palestinians/

    Why Israel Desires to be Hated by Palestinians

    by OREN BEN-DOR

    Yet another massacre is unfolding in Gaza, the largest prison in the world. We are surrounded by familiar chatter: ‘Israel’s right to defend itself’; ‘Palestinians’ legitimate resistance to (the 1967) occupation’; ‘who started it this time?’ Most insidious, however, is the stale refrain, sung by a chorus which includes President Obama, that the violence is disastrous for the ‘peace process’ aimed at a ‘two-state solution’.

    While it has been noted that one motivation for the Israeli government, in the run-up to elections in January, is to unite voters behind a ‘no choice’ rhetoric, there is a deeper motivation at stake here – to restrict the horizons of political debate, to control what should be regarded as a litmus test for ‘realistic’, ‘moderate’ and ‘reasonable’ voices.

    War is useful because the passion it arouses prevents people from asking two basic questions that must be addressed if the core of silencing and violence that we are witnessing is to be grasped and, in turn, if progress is ever to be made towards justice and enduring peace. First, what kind of state is Israel? Second, who are the Palestinians that this state is in conflict with?

    Israel was established to be a Jewish state. Its institutions have always been shaped and constrained so as to ensure the continued existence of a Jewish majority and character. Passing a test of Jewishness entitles someone to Israeli citizenship regardless of where in the world she lives. Furthermore, her citizenship comes with a bundle of political, social and economic rights which are preferential to that of citizens who do not qualify as Jewish. This inbuilt discriminatory premise highlights the apartheid nature of the state. But apartheid is not an accidental feature of Israel. Its very creation involved immense injustice and suffering. Shielding and rationalizing this inbuilt premise prevents the address of past injustices and ensures their continuity into the future. It is a premise that, in matters of constitutional interpretation, takes precedence over, and thus involves the imposition of ‘reasonable’ limitations on, equality of citizenship.

    The Palestinians, we are told, are a people who live in the West Bank and Gaza. The impression forced on us is that the conflict concerns a compromise to be made the correct border between Israel and a Palestinian state. We are led to believe that a partition into two-states would satisfy both genuine and realistic aspirations for justice and peace. In this view, the violence in Gaza is just an unreasonable aberration from an otherwise noble peace process.

    But Palestinians actually comprise three groups. First, those whose families originate in the territories that were occupied by Israel in 1967 (Gaza and the West Bank, including East Jerusalem). Second, the descendants of the approximately 750,000 non-Jews who were ethnically cleansed in 1947-9 in order to ensure a Jewish majority in the new Jewish state. This group is dispersed around the world, mostly in refugee camps in the territories occupied in 1967 and the neighbouring states. Israel has persistently denied them their internationally recognized legal right to return. The majority in Gaza consists of refugees from villages which are now buried under Israeli towns and cities that were created explicitly for Jewish citizens, places which include Ashkelon and Tel Aviv that were hit by rockets in the current conflict. The third group of Palestinians, which Israel insists on calling by the euphemism ‘Israeli Arabs’, are the non-Jews who managed to evade ethnic cleansing in 1947-49 and who now live as second-class citizens of Israel, the state which likes to claim that it is ‘Jewish and democratic’.

    Until 1948, the territory of Palestine stretched from the River Jordan to the Mediterranean. The violence that has afflicted the area ever since is the direct result of an event whose true nature our society seems determined to deny. Violence keeps erupting because of the silencing and marginalization of a simple truth surrounding any partition policy: that the injustice that afflicts Palestine can not be partitioned. It is because of the desire to preserve a Jewish state that first, the legal dualism that exists in the 1967 Occupied Territories as well as the horror at the ‘Separation Wall’ have become the dominant political discourses of apartheid, second, that the refugees are remained dispossessed and, thirdly, that both actual and potential non-Jew Arab citizens do, and would, suffer discrimination. The two-state vision means that the inbuilt apartheid within Israel, and in turn the injustice to two groups of Palestinians, does never become the central political problem.

    The range of reactions to the current carnage shows just how successful violence has been in sustaining the legitimacy of Israel by entrenching the political focus merely on its actions rather than on its nature. These reactions keep the discourse that calls for criticizing Israel rather than for replacing it with an egalitarian polity over the whole of historical Palestine.

    Israel desires to be hated by Palestinians. By provoking violence Israel has not merely managed to divert the limelight from its apartheid nature. It has also managed to convince that, as Joseph Massad of Columbia University once captured, it has the right to occupy, to dispossess and to discriminate, namely the claim that the apartheid premise which founds it should be put up with and rationalized as reasonable. Would anybody allow such a right-claim to hold sway in apartheid South Africa? How come that the anti-apartheid and egalitarian calls for the non-recognition of Israel right to exist are being marginalized as extreme and unrealizable? What kind of existential fetters cause the world to exhibit such blindness and a drop of compassion? Is there no unfolding tragedy that anticipates violence against Jews precisely because past violence against them in Europe is being allowed to serve as a rationalizing device of an apartheid state?

    Israel has already created a de facto single state between the river and the sea, albeit one which suffers from several apartheid systems, one within Israel and another in the occupied territories. We must not let Israeli aggression prevent us from treating as moderate and realistic proposals to turn this single state into one where all would have equal rights.

    Oren Ben-Dor grew up in the State of Israel. He is a Professor of Law and Philosophy in the Law School, University of Southampton, UK. He can be reached at: okbendor@yahoo.com.

    Comment by Karl Friedrich — November 25, 2012 @ 5:26 pm

  23. I left NJ in 1989. Really sorry about your Dad.
    He was a great guy.

    Comment by Hugh Breyer — November 25, 2012 @ 5:30 pm

  24. Correction. I left Illinois in 1989 for New Jersey. Haven’t been back since I left.
    I am a photographer in New Jersey, married with a 17 year old.

    Never had arguments over Palestine with him,
    and I attended a Workers World conference in the 90’s the last I saw him. Did not know about his passing… Not being a subscriber to Workers World until recently.

    Please convey my condolences to Luce.

    Comment by Hugh Breyer — November 25, 2012 @ 5:36 pm

  25. Well, Hugh, you may have never had political arguments over Zionism with him back then but if he were still alive you certainly would today with sarcastic comments like: “Let us pile on Israel…” as he wouldn’t let statements like that slide without patiently explaining why it’s logically wrongheaded & ultimately reactionary.

    Comment by Karl Friedrich — November 25, 2012 @ 5:54 pm

  26. I’m still upset over your Dad. He was a great friend – my email address is Prime1918@ail.com and you are welcome to correspond. I do have questions but not in a blog like this. I am not hostile to Palestine with a real curiosity as to the inferences from my remarks. I am a Trotskyist.

    Comment by Hugh Breyer — November 25, 2012 @ 6:03 pm

  27. “I am a Trotskyist”

    That is your opinion!

    Comment by SteveH — November 25, 2012 @ 8:37 pm

  28. “I am a Trotskyist”

    That is your opinion!

    Comment by Steveo — November 25, 2012 @ 8:37 pm

  29. Hugh

    I’m sure Trotsky wouldn’t resort to false allegations of antisemitism in order to defend a colonial settler state based on ethnic cleansing and segregationist laws but perhaps I’m expecting too much orthodoxy from you.

    Karl

    Karl, I have enjoyed and agreed a couple of articles I have read by Oren ben-Dor in the Independent in the UK so I was saddened when he came out very firmly if pretentiously, mendaciously and downright wrongly in support of Gilad Atzmon a few years back and more recently when the latter was denounced by several Palestinian activists. . The article you have posted is up there with the good ones I have read before but for me he has seriously undermined his credibility by jumping through hoops to simultaneously collude in and to deny Atzmon’s antisemitism.

    Here is a quote from Ben Dor from 2008:

    http://azvsas.blogspot.co.uk/2008/03/oren-ben-dor-southampton-university.html

    Zionism can be conceived as a symptom the non-empathetic manifestations of which are historically and existentially continuing certain facets of Jewish being and thinking. It is very important to ask whether the originary aggression of victim mentality as well as the choseness-begotten separateness existentially links the Zionist and the Jewish question.’

    That was defending Atzmon’s position that simply identifying as a secular Jew amounts to zionism.

    And here he is this year from his denunciation of a group of Palestinian activists. Noel Ignatiev, former doyen of racism scholars, posted it on this blog a few months ago:

    http://louisproyect.wordpress.com/2011/09/29/the-gilad-atzmon-controversy/

    Gilad’s book, bravely, and on many levels, points at; touches; brings into language the existential complexities that link the Jewish and the Zionist questions. It cries out for making this link into a field of inquiry. The complexities of these links reflect both the depth to which any grasping of and responding to what is now happening in Palestine must traverse. It is controversial but so what? It is causing offence to some uncritically accepted coordinates of debate but so what? It may not be palatable or expedient but so what? There is absolutely no racism or any hatred in the book. It is written from love, from passionate truth-seeking and beyond all out of deep care for people, care for the being of people, both those who perpetrate violence and those who suffer at its hands. Indeed the book meditates on the origin of violence in Palestine, origin to which Zionism may be but a symptom.

    I did warn about the pretentiousness.

    Honestly, I think that people like Hugh who issue bad faith allegations of antisemitism are the enablers for this kind of pretentiously expressed antisemitism. It is very hard to expose genuine cases of antisemitism when the Palestine solidarity movement is attracting newcomers who may be unaware of the difference between zionists and Jews because these ADL types do all they can to blur the distinction. People like me point an accusative finger at the likes of Atzmon and Ben Dor and they say “yeah, that;s what they all say”. Hugh and the ADL are part of the “all” that these antisemites are referring to.

    Goodness, I’m further off topic than even Hugh wanted to take us. Apologies for that.

    And not only that, I’ve only just noticed Hugh’s bullshit about Soviet Jewry. “Free Soviet Jewry” meant send Soviet Jews to Palestine. Some went to Palestine and then went to the USA claiming they were fleeing communism and got asylum for that. In Germany it was different. Soviet Jews who arrived first in Palestine then went to Germany were handcuffed and bundled on El Al planes back to Palestine because Germany claimed that Israel was their first point of refuge. At the time Germany would allow anyone, but anyone, to claim asylum on account of its nazi past. But they wouldn’t allow Jews to settle if they had first gone to Palestine. So much for Free Soviet Jewry.

    Apologies again! I’m outta here!

    Comment by levi9909 — November 25, 2012 @ 9:12 pm

  30. Levi: Your points are well made although I’d never even heard of Ben Dor until this morning but I thought his article at the top of the CounterPunch site was worth Hugh reading since he seems confused about who gets what in Jerusalem. Just goes to show you the profound inconsistencies and contradictions of the amalgam of authors that make up the CP site.

    Comment by Karl Friedrich — November 25, 2012 @ 11:15 pm


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