Louis Proyect: The Unrepentant Marxist

January 21, 2009

Spiked online’s obsession with “anti-Semitism”

Filed under: Jewish question — louisproyect @ 4:20 pm

Frank Furedi: more upset over broken Starbucks windows than white phosphorus in Gaza

I am somewhat ambivalent about answering Spiked online since so few people nowadays, especially them, view it as having anything to do with the left. With the exception of James Heartfield, just about every contributor to Spiked has stopped pretending to be part of the left. However, since they are in the habit of writing “critiques” of the left, particularly the activist sector that organizes mass demonstrations against the war in Iraq and more lately the war on Gaza, it is worth responding to them.

Since Spiked online accuses protesters of adapting to anti-Semitism, a charge that is almost as serious as the one being mounted at notoriously pro-imperialist outlets such as Harry’s Place in which the demonstrations themselves are described as anti-Semitic, it is worth countering them here. Ultimately, one of the main talking points of the Zionist propaganda machine is that Israel’s critics are anti-Semitic. It is rather sad that ex-leftists involved with Spiked can get on board the Zionist propaganda machine but this would not be the first time that radicals have traveled this route. Just read Richard Seymour’s “The Liberal Defense of Murder”, a book that I am about half-way through now, to get the big picture.

It is worth noting that Professor Frank Furedi, the founder of their current, has had another major complaint about the Israel-Palestine dispute apart from the specious “anti-Semitism” question. This is from a piece that Frank Furedi wrote for the U. of Kent departmental newsletter several years ago:

Tuesday: I am in a quiet state of agitation. The headlines are dominated by the outbreak of violence in the Middle East and no matter how hard I try, I cannot remember the name of the right-wing Israeli politician, whose visit to the Muslim shrine (whose name I can also not recall), sparked the whole thing off.

Wednesday: More violence in Israel. But things are looking up — the debate on sex education is in the news. That’s more my kind of issue. Now if only there was another nice controversy about something with a sociological edge.

Thursday: I am feeling depressed. The violence in the Middle East dominates the news. The media have dropped the sex education debate.

One supposes that Furedi would be happier if the demonstrations taking place during the war on Gaza had been organized on behalf of how to achieve simultaneous climax during intercourse, but fortunately the activists have a better sense of where their priorities lie.

Thankfully, Furedi’s “After Gaza: what’s behind 21st-century anti-Semitism?” makes no mention of sex education, but it is a bit fucked—to use the vernacular. Its most egregious error is to consider the question of anti-Semitism ahistorically. For example, when windows are broken at a Starbucks because the president is an outspoken Zionist, Furedi worries that a Kristallnacht is in the offing.

Increasingly, protesters are targeting Jews for being Jews. They have agitated for the boycott and even harassment of ‘Israeli shops’, but in practice this means boycotting and harassing Jewish-owned shops, such as Marks & Spencer (some of whose stores have been barricaded by anti-Israel protesters) and Starbucks (a number of whose coffee shops have been attacked in London and elsewhere). Some protesters in Italy don’t share the linguistic subtlety of those ostensibly calling for a boycott of ‘Israeli shops’. Giancarlo Desiderati, spokesman for the trade union Flaica-Cub, has called for a boycott of Jewish businesses in Rome. A leaflet issued by his union informed Romans that anything they purchase in Jewish-owned shops will be ‘tainted by blood’.

Once upon a time, when Furedi was a Marxist rather than the libertarian that he is today, he might have considered the question of the economic crisis that fueled anti-Semitism. The likelihood that Jews will be persecuted in the same way that they were in Germany during the 1930s is almost nil. Instead, the likely victims will be Arab and African immigrants. For example, Great Britain’s largest fascist organization, the BNP, has been virulently opposed to the left-wing protestors targeted by Furedi:

Indeed, the destruction of Israel (which is the generally stated aim of all the far-left and Muslim demonstrators screaming and on occasion rioting outside the Israeli Embassy in London, and the generally unstated aim of the far smaller number of neo-Nazi cranks siding with them on the Internet) would most definitely not placate a single hardline Muslim.

One of the fundamental lessons of the West’s long and at times desperate defence against Islam’s institutionalised aggression, sexual predation and imperialism, is that every victory for Islamic fighters reinforces the hysterical certainty in the word of the Prophet and in Islam’s self-proclaimed destiny to conquer the entire world.

Now these are the real successors to Adolph Hitler, not the left-wing protestors who break a Starbucks window. While it is obviously wrong to target Jewish-owned businesses, the main activity being carried out today by the left are mass demonstrations demanding an end to the Israeli assault on Gaza. If Furedi and his co-thinkers were half as worked up by entire city blocks being leveled by IDF bombs as they were by a broken Starbucks window, they would be taken more seriously by their readers. For long-time monitors of this peculiar British group, such as me, the last thing we have learned to expect from them is a desire to engage with the left. They are much happier in the role of nose-thumbing contrarians, even when this means being wrong 99 percent of the time.

Most of Furedi’s article is about attitudes toward the Jews of Europe rather than anti-Semitism as an institution. In early 20th century history, Jews suffered institutional oppression just as Blacks in the U.S. did. For example, Hitler enacted laws that were modeled on Jim Crow laws in the U.S. Also, before the Bolshevik-led revolution, Czarist Russia was rife with anti-Semitism. For example, Jews were forced to live in the “Pale of Settlement” and pay twice the tax that a Christian paid. In other less repressive countries, Jews suffered job discrimination and were excluded from educational institutions. In France, the Dreyfus affair in France epitomized the tendency for Jews to be singled out and punished.

What is missing from Furedi’s analysis is the role of the state. If anti-Semitism were a real threat today, there would be evidence of proposed legislation to punish Jews as Jews. No such evidence exists, nor is there evidence that Jews are being excluded from professions or universities because of their ethnicity or religion.

If anything, raising “anti-Semitism” as some sort of impending threat is just another example of the public relations campaign that gets mounted whenever Palestinians are asserting themselves. During the spate of suicide bombings in Israel taking place in 2001, a major campaign against alleged anti-Semitism on American campuses was organized. It was transparently clear that the real target of this campaign was the anti-Zionist left, as I tried to make clear to one of the signatories of an open letter on anti-Semitism that appeared in the N.Y. Times:

Open Letter to Bard College President on “Anti-Semitism” on campus

Oct. 8, 2002

Dear Leon Botstein,

I hope everything is going okay with you and your master plan for turning Bard College into a first-rate American institution. No doubt the new Performing Institute designed by megastar Frank Gehry will catapult Bard into the stratosphere even though to me it looks like a melting gingerbread house designed by somebody who ate one too many peyote buttons. But–hey–what do I know. For me, some of the most emblematic buildings at Bard during my stint (1961-1965) were the barracks that had been constructed after WWII for returning veterans. They might have looked like dormitories for migrant farm laborers, but they did contain some extraordinary students. Other times–other places.

But the reason I write you now is to express my disappointment that you would jump on the “Anti-Zionism = Anti-Semitism” bandwagon. Surely, you must understand that this was the purpose of the full-page ad in the NY Times, even though it was framed in terms of protecting Jewish students from another Kristallnacht. Here at Columbia University, where I have worked for the past 10 years, you can find a vibrant anti-Zionist movement that is spearheaded by Jews in fact. Now maybe they are in some sort of dark conspiracy to punish their co-religionists but mostly they seem intent on raising fellow students’ awareness of what Gush Shalom leader Uri Avnery calls “a cruel, brutal and colonizing state.”

When you turn to the Chronicles of Higher Education (Oct. 4) article on “anti-Semitism” on campus, the evidence is pretty thin. Your fellow signatory Arthur Levine, president of Teachers College of Columbia University, said that he noticed a graffiti on a men’s-room wall that said, “Let’s kill the Jews.” He said he looked in several stalls and found other graffiti, both anti-Jewish and anti-Islamic.

Now my offices are in Teachers College and I have had occasion to visit many of their facilities on account of my chronic irritable bowel syndrome. But I have never seen such graffiti myself. Is it possible that President Levine is manufacturing evidence like the Gulf of Tonkin incident? I wouldn’t rule this out myself.

(I would hasten to add that the only threatening graffiti I spotted was “Death to Short People”, which is on the first floor of Thorndike, in the rightmost stall in the bathroom near the photocopying room. I often go there to do my business and read a little CLR James while I’m at it. Now I have never felt threatened by this graffiti, even though I barely reach 5’6″.)

On the other hand, there are lots of real attacks taking place against professors and students who are protesting Israeli brutality. I am acquainted with Mohammad Alam, an economics professor at Northeastern, whose “dossier” has turned up in a website run by Daniel Pipes. Along with institutions such as my employer Columbia University, these voices are being singled out as virtually in league with suicide bombers.

I think you probably understand why this point of view is being policed right now. The Zionist establishment is deathly afraid that a divestment movement might take root among Jewish progressives on campus. My suggestion to all the esteemed college presidents who signed the ad is to use their good influence to stop Israel from acting like apartheid South Africa. That is surely the best way that such a movement can be preempted.

Respectfully yours,

Louis Proyect, class of 1965

44 Comments »

  1. Thanks for this post.

    I’ve just finished reading Lenni Brenner’s book, Zionism in the age of the dictators, which your friend Dennis advised to me.

    And all I can say is: wow.

    How very ironic that these guys are the ones who make those accusations.

    Comment by littlehorn — January 21, 2009 @ 6:42 pm

  2. The only anti-semites stumbling about American campuses are the Jewish Zionists. Conflating Jews with Israel makes Jews implicitly guilty for all Israeli crimes. Which makes the Jewish national movement, originally created to get rid of anti-Semitism, its main inciter. My people do good work!

    http://www.maxajl.com

    Comment by max1284 — January 21, 2009 @ 6:52 pm

  3. Max, it was not “created” to get rid of anti-Semitism. To the contrary, Herzl himself explained in his Diary that he came to accept it, and not to fight it off, for it would be a waste of time. This passivity is a standard among Zionists, and as I hinted at above, it lasted through the Holocaust. The last thing you can say about Zionism is its aim is the destruction of antisemitism.

    Your point about it fueling antisemitism is absolutely correct.

    Comment by littlehorn — January 21, 2009 @ 7:06 pm

  4. What I remarked upon was its “original” purpose, which clearly mutated. I absolutely did not say that “The last thing you can say about Zionism is its aim is the destruction of antisemitism.” Been a long, long, long time since I read my Herzl, but if Herzl “came to accept it,” then he earlier didn’t.

    Comment by max1284 — January 21, 2009 @ 7:23 pm

  5. Okay, okay, I (partially) withdraw my brief. Have re-read what I could of Herzl through Arendt’s prism (but did Herzl not suggest that if anti-semitism was a malady caused by the Jewish nation existing in the interstices of other national states, then full removal to Palestine would ameliorate/dissipate it? Seriously, I have no idea.) What about Zionism as “intended to prevent the destructive effects of anti-semitism”?
    http://www.maxajl.com

    Comment by max1284 — January 21, 2009 @ 7:52 pm

  6. that is pretty appalling

    mick Hume who used to edit Living Marxism wrote his recently

    http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/comment/columnists/mick_hume/article5408672.ece

    which abandons their previous position of a united secular palestinian state of jews and palestinians (ok it was a long time ago) and also has a load of dubious positions in it.

    Furedi and co seems to have embraced the clash of civilisations thesis, which is interesting because in the mid 1990s before their dissolution, the RCP were hosting meetings with islamic groups such as Hizb ut tahrir in the universities in London and leafleting Islamic conferences saying how anti-imperilaist they were.

    Furedi recants a series of accusations that have no basis in fact. One Starbucks had a window smashed (not several Jewish shops). The Isreali embassy was picketed but it is the outpost of state involved in a war against the palestinians (the RCP picketed it years ago). what should we do march against another country’s embassy?

    personally I would award them the James Burnham award for being political renegades.

    they are no diferent from the disgusting AWL sect in the UK. As for heartfeld, his economics is just a sad reworking for greater exploitation. Struve comes to mind

    still a few of them turn up on the radio now again. Obviously their pro-capitalist agenda sits very well with bbc and etc

    Comment by keefer — January 21, 2009 @ 9:29 pm

  7. But did Herzl not suggest that if anti-semitism was a malady caused by the Jewish nation existing in the interstices of other national states, then full removal to Palestine would ameliorate/dissipate it? Seriously, I have no idea.
    I feel like you offer this as a mitigating remark. I hope it’s not. Cause all I’m understanding from it is, Herzl did not oppose anti-semitism, but rather rode the wave for his own petty nationalist purposes. Giving up the fight and willingly sacrificing innocents.

    What about Zionism as “intended to prevent the destructive effects of anti-semitism”?
    This is just bullshit.

    Listen, antisemites tell Jews to get out of “their” country; and Zionists opine, with the proviso that the end-destination is Palestine. That’s not preventing the destructive effects of anti-semitism, that’s condoning anti-semitism.

    Comment by littlehorn — January 21, 2009 @ 10:22 pm

  8. Aside from its reportage, Mick Hume’s article cited by Keefer says:
    “I support the Palestinian right to self-determination … There is talk now of the need to uphold the integrity of the Gaza Strip as Palestinian territory. Yet Gaza is little more than a glorified refugee camp, propped up by 300 international bodies. Is this really for what the Palestinians have been fighting for so long? … Back in the real Israel of today, all the big parties in the forthcoming elections agree on the eventual need for a two-state solution. Yet perhaps the Cold War-style stand-off around Gaza, now going through a hot phase, shows that a divisive “two-state solution” is already taking shape on the ground and in hearts and minds … the history of the Middle East suggests that outside interference offers no solution.”

    As for Frank Furedi’s article, it appeared simultaneously alongside Brendan O’Neill on “The politics of anti-Zionism”. Opening line: “Critics of Israel often argue that one can be an anti-Zionist without being an anti-Semite. They are absolutely right.” So to treat Spiked as having a unified “obsession” with anti-semitism, it means first ignoring a big slice of the site’s commentary on Gaza in order to quote selectively from the rest. And then getting back to using transatlantic mind-reading in order to speculate about Spiked’s “hidden agenda”, revealing positions that don’t feature in the actual publications themselves.

    Comment by Graham — January 22, 2009 @ 12:17 am

  9. In response to #8, Mick Hume’s business about Gaza being a refugee camp, etc. really counts for nothing when you put it side by side with this:

    “An insecure Israel will still lash out when it feels threatened, as it did in Lebanon in 2006 and Gaza now, even though such military spasms are likely to be ineffective and even counter-productive.”

    All I can say is that I am disgusted by the idea that “an insecure Israel will still lash out when it feels threatened”. I read these words and I feel like I have washed my hands in a toilet bowl.

    I would also urge people to go to spiked.com and decide for themselves whether there is Zionist apologetics or not. Unfortunately, the Furedi group can’t have it both ways. It cannot built ties with PR firms like Hill-Knowlton and be taken as a legitimate leftist group at the same time. If Frank Furedi ever proposed to me that Spiked should be co-sponsoring events with the same PR firm that cooked up the lie about Iraqi troops throwing Kuwaiti babies on a cold nursery floor, I would storm out the door and never come back. It simply amazes me that an otherwise sensible person like Graham Barnfield didn’t do this himself ages ago. I guess these old boy’s networks of ex-leftists have a powerful appeal, although speaking for myself I’d rather hang out with a skunk.

    Comment by louisproyect — January 22, 2009 @ 12:27 am

  10. louis, the rule is if you mention Furedi you also have to to use the term screed at some point. Im disappointed in you! :p

    Comment by SGuy — January 22, 2009 @ 1:30 am

  11. I’ve encountered with the pro-Palestinian movement confused politics at times, than conscious antisemitism. I was at a rally for Gaza last week. I saw one guy with an obvious antisemitic sign. I was going to confront him, but he kept running. I believe he was a rightist blogger. He was always hiding his face.

    Spiked is against the wall between Israel and Palestine. They even cleverly point out the danger of cultural isolation.

    It is stupid to break windows of a Starbucks. It’s a real problem if people are swayed that way.

    My gripe with Spiked, is they have no dialectic. Who are they talking to and why? I didn’t agree with the politics of the local rally about Gaza, but I was there, with a leaflet explaining my position. Spiked should take part in the movement, and teach not to break windows.

    Again who is their audience and why do they bother to have a position?

    Comment by Renegade Eye — January 22, 2009 @ 2:09 am

  12. I think Louis Proyect doesn’t really understand what he is talking about here. Bit of humor:

    Question: “How is it possible for a Jew to misunderstand another Jew so easily?”. Answer: “Why shouldn’t a Jew have the right to misunderstand another Jew so easily?”.

    Comment by Jurriaan Bendien — January 22, 2009 @ 6:44 pm

  13. Graham, I did read the Brendan o neil piece and even the cunliffe piece.

    O neil starts with saying you can be anti-zionist without being a anti semite and then spends the rest of the long article, which is mainly a summary of Abram Leon, explaining why the left are anti-semitic, including an approving quote (no4) from the disgusting pro-Zionist AWL sect in the UK.

    for example

    …the contemporary politics of anti-Zionism is not based on an appreciation of history or meaningful solidarity with either the Jewish or the Palestinian people, but rather has become an outlet for the expression of all sorts of grievances, and, amongst Western officials, for back-covering.”

    Of course little of this is evidence and where it is it is lies.

    Take the Hume article: “I support the Palestinian right to self-determination {doesn’t explain what this actually means]. But I am disturbed by the rise of anti-Israeli sentiments in Britain and the West, as when my old friends on the Left declared: “We are all Hezbollah now.”

    apart from the astonishing notion that Hume as old friends on the left, why would they be chanting “We are all Hezbollah now.” on a demo about Gaza? I did see some people chant this in London back in 2006, they appeared to come from the Middle East.

    Also Hume a has a touching faith in the main Israeli parties support for two states. Several of the parties on the right are against a palestinian state. Those that are in favour support a rump, bantustan palestinan state – not a state in any normal sense of the word.

    The Furedi article makes several false claims about shops and starbucks being smashed up (one was and there is now a police/press witch-hunt against demonstrators) and attributing some of this to the boycott campaign.

    The boycott campaign is a call made by the Palestinian trade unions and ngos in Gaza. You may disagree with the tactic but i can’t remember people claiming that the sanctions movement on South Africa led to anti-white or anti-boer racism.

    Manifestations of racism such as graffiti have been denounced by Muslims and anti-war protesters alike

    finally the demos themselves in London. The AWL sect in England claim that they are rallies for Islamic reaction; Furedi and co claim that they are full of anti-israeli racists (and are happy to quote the AWL has a good source). In fact is that in 2003, there were far more organised Islamic radical parties that there are now (Hizb ut tahrir, Al Majiroun, Saviour sect, none of which now exist). Jews and Muslims have marched together to oppose the war on Gaza in harmony.

    At the moment there are about six universities in the UK in occupation in support of the Palestinians and many unions are discussing the issue including the boycott campaign. Does spiked support such “meaningful solidarity”, no it will oppose it by spurious and dubious methods.

    It doesn’t offer any solidarity whatsoever and says what is needed is “a new politics of self-determination undertaken by Arabs and Israelis themselves. That politics can begin through a ruthless critique of the victim-centred politics currently prevalent in the conflict.” (Cunliffe)

    what crap

    The whole gist of the website is to oppose the working class and oppressed and international solidarity.

    As Trotsky said: Man overboard, sail on

    Comment by keefer — January 22, 2009 @ 7:55 pm

  14. by the way. Read o neil’s “The antithesis of anti-imperialism”
    http://www.spiked-online.com/index.php?/site/article/6078/

    for his claim that the palestinian solidarity movement, or anti-israel lobby as he prefers to call it, is dominated by

    “a peculiar alliance of European officials, well-to-do journalists, sections of the old left, anti-globalists, Islamic fundamentalists and neo-Nazis”

    and then he tarnishes a whole movement with tittle tattle about a couple of placards and e-mail thread to prove that really they are all pro-imperialists and that the Muslim youth are all Al Queda supporters.

    then ask yourselves if they aren’t pro-Zionist.

    Comment by keefer — January 22, 2009 @ 10:01 pm

  15. 1. I tried to find where Furedi worries about another Kristallnacht, but it must have slipped by me.

    What he does say is ‘defenders of Zionism have developed the unfortunate habit of labelling criticisms of Israel as a form of anti-Semitism. The aim of these rhetorical attacks is to devalue the moral standing of Israel’s critics, and thus avoid having to deal with their often difficult, persuasive arguments’.

    In other words, he explicitly makes the point, up front, that ‘one of the main talking points of the Zionist propaganda machine is that Israel’s critics are anti-Semitic’. Can you find similar remarks prefacing the rants at Harry’s PLace or from Melanie Philips? Doesn’t the fact that Furedi makes this point so explicitly give you some pause as to what he is trying to say?

    2. While it’s true that in the Furedi article he only notes the ‘growing tendency to detach the Holocaust from its historical context’ in passing, the fact that an article that is primarily a summary of Abram Leon (and Nathan Weinstock) was published alongside Furedi’s piece might undermine Loius Proyect’s only charge of substance, namely that spiked ignores the historical dimension, role of the state, etc.

    3. Keefer: that AWL ‘quote’. I don’t see O’Neill quoting an AWL political position. As far as I can see, he references the AWL for factual support on the following:

    ‘Across Europe, some university student unions and radical left-wing groups demand ‘No Platform For Zionists’ – that is, they should be denied publicity and airtime – on the basis that they are ‘racists’, ‘colonialists’, and even ‘fascists’ (4).’

    Now, what does the AWL article say? First, it is mostly not about the Middle East at all. It is a discussion of the slogan ‘no platform for fascists’. The Zionism example is brought up in the first part of the article as an example of the issues raised by free speech. Here is what the AWL says:

    ‘In the student movement in the 1980s, “no platform” policies against right-wingers paved the way for advocates of “identity politics”, or demagogues, to brand the left as racist, sexist and homophobic. Policies of “no platform” for fascists, racists, or right-wingers of one sort or another spiralled into great confusion. The Easter 1986 conference of the National Union of Students saw one low point. One faction of leftists wanted “no platform for Zionists”; the conference enforced “no platform for idiot anti-Zionists” by banning a badge which compared Zionism to fascism. … If we slip into advocating “no platform for racists” on the grounds that racist ideas are repulsive, offensive, lead ultimately to violence, etc., then why not “no platform for sexists”, “no platform for Zionists”, “no platform for Arab chauvinists”, “no platform for Tories”, “no works by D H Lawrence in public libraries”…?’

    Now it’s true that (unlike spiked) the AWL support a two state ‘solution’. But the article quoted describes the banning of anti-Zionists as a ‘low point’ and puts the slogan ‘no platform for Zionists’ in the same sequence as ‘no platform for racists’.

    Substantially, I presume that you don’t disagree with O’Neill’s factual statement that ‘some university student unions and radical left-wing groups demand ‘No Platform For Zionists’ … on the basis that they are ‘racists’, ‘colonialists’, and even ‘fascists’’?

    4. ‘Also Hume a has a touching faith in the main Israeli parties support for two states. Several of the parties on the right are against a palestinian state. Those that are in favour support a rump, bantustan palestinan state – not a state in any normal sense of the word.’

    It seems to me that the point of the Hume piece was precisely that the existing arrangement is exactly a rump bantustan Palestinian ‘state’. A point made repeatedly on spiked is that even when Israel stops the bombing this is in fact the problem. Surely it’s of some importance to criticise the fact that this arrangement is supported by all the major imperialist powers?

    Can you address Cunliffe’s real point:

    ‘The humanitarian focus on alleviating Palestinian suffering detracts attention from the underlying question of Palestinian national rights. If the focus is on immediately solving a humanitarian emergency under the auspices of the UN, then greater international involvement can be demanded – at the expense of Palestinian self-determination. … Now, Fatah, the Palestinian party that controls the West Bank, is calling for UN peacekeepers to be deployed to Gaza. The politics of victimhood and powerlessness leads to the scramble for international backing and the renunciation of self-determination for both Arabs and Jews.’

    Outside of the small numbers influenced by the left, I think most people think that more international intervention is the obvious answer. The idea that showning more Palestinian blood on our TV screens will be good for the Palestinians seems pretty prevalent here in the UK. That needs to be challenged.

    Comment by Qubic — January 23, 2009 @ 11:26 am

  16. Fatah bows to the Zionist State and the Zionist State lets them play cop in the West Bank, while settlements are continuing. I wouldn’t call that control.

    I don’t see that taking care of the humanitarian emergency completely excludes taking care of the problem of self-determination. Maybe you can elaborate on why this would be so ? There’s only so much effort people can make ?

    Comment by littlehorn — January 23, 2009 @ 12:37 pm

  17. ‘I don’t see that taking care of the humanitarian emergency completely excludes taking care of the problem of self-determination.’

    Obviously it does not.

    ‘There’s only so much effort people can make?’

    No, this is not the point at all. The problem is the terms on which the immediate problem of an escalation in violence is taken up. Demands for international intervention – by the UN, EU, US – such as demands that Israelis be put on trials for war crimes, place the fate of the region into the hands of the imperialists. They all want a ‘two state solution’, despite the reality that this will result in neither a real Palestinian state nor a solution. International pressure has already pushed Israel some way in this direction. That approach to ‘taking care of the humanitarian emergency’ does not just ‘exclude’ self-determination; it contradicts it.

    Humanitarian sympathy with bombed Palestinian victims is not the same as solidarity with people fighting for self-determination. It seems you are happy, on one level to criticise the politics of Fatah as having betrayed the hopes of their followers. They no longer pursue real self determination. They have settled for a deal with Israel and the ‘international community’ in which they get to police the West Bank statelet. Might there not also be grounds for criticising Hamas’ politics, on the grounds that they are leading people into a trap?

    Read this by Jon Snow, the leading liberal newsman in the UK:

    http://www.independent.co.uk/news/media/tv-radio/gaza-war-from-a-distance-1419147.html

    Here Snow asks

    ‘Has the Western account, restricted by the Israeli ban on journalists in the conflict zone, been so reduced as to dull the scale of protest? Has the volume of images of death injury and destruction played and replayed in the Arab media served to radicalise and enrage the Islamic world still further? Thus creating a gulf so unbridgeable that it defeated even the passage of a unanimous UN call for a ceasefire?’

    The substance of his objection is as follows:

    ‘Had I been on the ground in Gaza, I would have found out the baby’s name, talked to its father, perhaps been to the home – made that human emotional connection between the death of a child and our own living experience. The thing that binds us together and shocks us as humans.

    Wrapped remains and wailing women shock, but do not connect in the same way. We see the image, we know it’s bad, but we do not experience the emotion. When the Israelis exclude the media, they know what they are doing.’

    It is clear that Snow is not interested in the politics of self-determination. He doesn’t credit his audience with possibility that they may want to use their reason to engage (or that through this they may gain profound sympathy with the victims – we’re all too stupid for that). He is in the business of dead-baby gut wrenching propaganda. He wants the audience to see the Palestinians as victims, incapable of controlling their fate.

    Isn’t it just as clear that Palestinians are being set up to live penned in to an international protectorate?

    I think the likes of Snow, more than ‘the left’ per se, are the first target of spiked’s polemics. Certainly Snow’s outlook is more influential in the UK than say the SWP or AWL, so it’s deserving of criticism.

    Comment by Qubic — January 23, 2009 @ 1:36 pm

  18. 1. I tried to find where Furedi worries about another Kristallnacht, but it must have slipped by me.

    [He was implicit about this rather than explicit. Why else the worry about Jewish shops being attacked? Everybody knows that this suggests another Kristallnacht, as the crew at Harry’s Place makes explicit. It is your misfortune to be making the same claims implicitly that they make explicitly.]

    In other words, he explicitly makes the point, up front, that ‘one of the main talking points of the Zionist propaganda machine is that Israel’s critics are anti-Semitic’. Can you find similar remarks prefacing the rants at Harry’s PLace or from Melanie Philips? Doesn’t the fact that Furedi makes this point so explicitly give you some pause as to what he is trying to say?

    [Furedi is far too clever to actually blurt out the things that Harry’s Place does. Instead he insinuates them.]

    Outside of the small numbers influenced by the left, I think most people think that more international intervention is the obvious answer. The idea that showning more Palestinian blood on our TV screens will be good for the Palestinians seems pretty prevalent here in the UK. That needs to be challenged.

    [“Less Palestinian blood; more sex education!” A Furedi-ite transitional demand.]

    Comment by louisproyect — January 23, 2009 @ 3:31 pm

  19. Politics aside, that Furedi is one UGLY mothah fuckah. He probably inspired that old joke, “He so ugly that when he was born, the doctor slapped his mama”.

    Comment by MIchael Hureaux — January 23, 2009 @ 5:07 pm

  20. Seriously. That dude could be the poster boy for jack-o-lanterns every Halloween. Damn, Louis, why you got to put such a hurtin’ on our eyes?

    Comment by MIchael Hureaux — January 23, 2009 @ 5:10 pm

  21. Qubic, I see your point now and I agree. In fact, let me tell you something. I live in Calais, that’s the north of France. Lots of exilees here, trying to reach England. Well, as you would guess, humanitarians are careful not to get too political, and insist simply on being allowed to distribute food. I’ve had an opportunity to talk to some of them. Their naivete, regarding the townhall’s rightist municipality, is disgusting. And when, after a woman is raped, the mayor makes racist allegations; silence is the only thing you hear from them. You wouldn’t want to aleniate the population. I doubt anyone even recognizes her racism.

    But anyway, you’re entirely right that humanitarians are too weak. Anyone ever heard of that Samantha Wise ? I rest my case.

    Nevertheless, I was a little put off by your prior comment, because I thought you meant what I asked you to clarify: that being humanitarian and taking care of people would lead to giving up on the Palestinian State.

    Thus creating a gulf so unbridgeable that it defeated even the passage of a unanimous UN call for a ceasefire?
    Um. The lack of information is what defeated the passage ? I thought the US vetoed it ? Or if it was the subsequent one, they abstained. In any case, that’s a strange point for Snow to make.

    As for the rest, it certainly is true that people don’t feel while watching TV. But that’s because you’re behind a screen, thousands of miles away. I’m absolutely with you on the point that Hamas, by seeking the two-state “solution,” only plays with Palestinian lives. The Zionist State is powerful enough to screw any peace process, remain the dominator of millions, and pass themselves off as victims. Maybe it’s time Palestinians create the asymetrical diplomacy.

    Comment by littlehorn — January 23, 2009 @ 7:42 pm

  22. Qubic

    I would not quote the AWL on anything to do with anti-zionism or no platform as they can’t be trusted. You cited the AWL article saying about a low point in 1986 (i think it was sunderland polytechnic). From that, o neil uses it to describe the current situation – ie 23 years later. Again where is the evidence? Hence I would disagree with o neil’s statement as I haven’t heard of cases recently of the banning of Zionist organisations (please give examples). In fact several student unions have overturned no platform recently ie the opposite of what o neil is saying. So we have yet another dubious argument used to attack people who are mobilising in support of Palestinians.

    As for Snow, his TV programme was a critique of the mainstream press not an example of it. Most of the media has refused to give the Palestinian side of things. Your comment about “The idea that showing more Palestinian blood on our TV screens will be good for the Palestinians seems pretty prevalent here in the UK and must be challenged” sums up spiked well. We have a murderous war on a captive people where the media in the main refuses to put the Palestinian case and the central task is to attack those who oppose media censorship of the Palestinians. What about supporting the palestinians as the central task (btw where can I find spiked support for a united secular state not two states?)

    Also if Spiked is going to consistently attack pro-palestinians as anti-israeli and include “old left” and “anti-globalisers” in the same breath as AL Queda and neo nazis (as i have quoted) then it doesn’t matter how many nice sounding phrases at the beginning of their articles and quotes from Abram Leon they put in. The rest of the articles degenerate into left baiting and attacking pro-palestinian protestors (the one about a banner saying jihad on Zionism is used to tar the whole demo), it sounds pretty zionist.

    I was surprised at the length of the Leon summary, I put it down to o neil’s desire to publicly prove his Marxist credentials just as he is personally moving farther away. I believe the phrase is “all mouth, no trousers”. The most i have ever seen him quote from Marxists before was a sentence from the Grundrisse about workers buying luxuries at the top of a boom, he managed to rip that out of context to “show” that Marx supported rampant consummerism.

    I can’t be bothered to address Cunliffe’s “real point” because whenever I see spiked go on about victimhood I fall to sleep. There was an occupation at Cunliffe’s university (SOAS) in support of the Palestinians, do you think he supported it or found some weasely argument to be no where near it?

    The pro-palestinian movement has been ignored or traduced by the press (refusal to cover demos, massive under-reporting of numbers 20,000 when over 100,000 marched etc), subject to police brutality and media witch-hunts. The Palestinians have been ignored in most of the press, which is in the UK mainly pro zionist. The Labour government has a history of zionism and has refused to support the Palestinians.

    And then joining the fray against it comes spiked with a nasty attack full of half-truths, dubious methods, lies all wrapped up with its usual obsessions. And it takes place not in one article but five (i am sure it’s in many more but that was my reading limit, I couldn’t take anymore).

    Why? well i guess that spiked actually came out in support of palestine then they would lose all their right-wing friends. So they have to make up a load of crap as to why they can’t support the movement.

    eventually most of them will follow the few who have decamped to supporting Conservative (possibly the oldest bourgeois party in the world) mayor of London Boris Johnson.

    they deserve each other

    Comment by keefer — January 23, 2009 @ 7:43 pm

  23. I didn’t see any complaints about the massive worldwide TV coverage of the aftermath of the 2004 Tsunami – complete with pictures of corpses tangled in the branches of ripped up trees. Or the carnage wreaked on Burma (Myanmar) by cyclone Nargis last year where the insufficiency of the government’s response to the disaster resulted in global condemnation fully endorsed by the media.

    Comment by Fellow Traveller — January 23, 2009 @ 8:28 pm

  24. btw, I’ve noticed in the past that some East Europeans who bewail the crushing of the Hungarian Uprising of 1956 will often in the same breath reproach the West for abandoning them at the same moment because of the ongoing Suez “adventure” (one wonders if Russians thought of their invasion as an adventure). Furedi probably shares their contempt for Arabs who had the temerity to interrupt a cosmic struggle of “higher morality” (because they pertain to a more “advanced” race, perhaps?) with their unseemly agitation and unwitting elicitation of a punitive imperial expedition. Or, as another East European put it:

    What is most important to the history of the world? The Taliban or the collapse of the Soviet empire? Some stirred-up Moslems or the liberation of Central Europe and the end of the cold war?

    Comment by sk — January 23, 2009 @ 9:59 pm

  25. I would like to see ‘The Letters of the Unrepentant Marxist, An Anthology of Harassment’ published sometime.

    Comment by Adrian — January 24, 2009 @ 12:50 am

  26. An Anthology of the Unrepentant Marxist’s social criticism would certainly be worth reading. “Harassment” is physical, ending in broken bones. It’s not words, however cutting, that have been killing children in Gaza.

    Comment by Peter Byrne — January 24, 2009 @ 9:13 am

  27. If you want to disagree with spiked, fine. I guess if you want to just make stuff up and attribute it to them on the ground that they’re ‘too clever’ to say what they really mean then you’re free to do that too. I’ll have to leave you to enjoy your weird mind games on your own.

    For what it’s worth, here’s Furedi on Hungary 1956:

    ‘I was nine years old when fighting broke out in Budapest in October 1956. At the time I naively thought that the uprising against the Hungarian regime and its Soviet masters was the most important event in the world. It wasn’t, but it did mark a crucial chapter in the disintegration of Stalinism.’

    On the 2004 tsunami:

    ‘The initial headlines, proclaiming tens of thousands dead in the largest natural disaster in living memory, were enough to make people care about the plight of the tsunami’s victims. We didn’t need the constant flow of bloated bodies on British TV screens, the pictures of orphaned children, the endless stories of the horror, to make us sympathise with the people killed, maimed or displaced by the tragedy, to make us want to help in whatever small way we could.’

    and

    ‘The non-stop reporting and discussion of the tsunami also became a lengthy citizenship lesson in how to behave like a responsible person today. Showing yet more pictures of bloated, purple corpses alongside the disaster fund phone numbers created a moral imperative to join in and show we care, like a huge Red Nose day with real dead bodies.’

    and

    ‘So the space has been filled with endless, and often rather ghoulish, reports of the devastation, complete with colour pictures of dead bodies on beaches. Worse, some have sought to ride that tsunami as the vehicle for their pet political messages, mostly based on the reactionary anti-human, anti-development prejudices that are so powerful today. … But more human activity, leading to greater economic and social development, can help us to limit the effects of such disasters. There is nothing natural about how much damage an earthquake, hurricane or tsunami causes, or how many casualties it leaves behind. These things are largely determined by the state of the societies that are struck. As a general rule, the more advanced and richer we are, the better protected we will be.’

    On Nargis:

    ‘Is anyone else finding the BBC coverage of the Burma cyclone deeply distasteful? Virtually every night since Cyclone Nargis whacked the Irrawaddy Delta, Fiona Bruce has breathlessly announced on The 10 O’Clock News that tonight’s show will contain ‘graphic’, ‘disturbing’, ‘shocking’ or ‘upsetting’ images, and anyone with a sensitive disposition or who is eating their dinner ‘should look away now’. Cue images of dead Burmese families, their bodies bloated and distended from the impact of the floodwaters, or an extreme close-up of a barely surviving old woman, the camera focusing feverishly on her wrinkled mouth as a fly crawls into it. What is this – news, or infotainment for necrophiliacs?’

    etc

    No links because I know you can’t be bothered to read them. But if it makes you feel better then feel free to have a go them for writing what you were just criticising them for not writing.

    Comment by Qubic — January 24, 2009 @ 12:47 pm

  28. (those other quotes were from the spiked website, not all Furedi.)

    Comment by Qubic — January 24, 2009 @ 12:51 pm

  29. Qubic is living in an idealized dream world. It was only when B.B.C. World broadcast two stories last week that many people, even in Israel, had to face up to what was actually happening. Both let fathers speak whose children had been wiped out, either shot in cold blood or bombed in their beds. Should the world audience have been aware of what was happening without this grisly footage? Well, yes, they should have been, but it was easier to look the other way. Maybe Furedi has too much good taste or is too sensitive to look the world in the face.

    Comment by Peter Byrne — January 24, 2009 @ 4:11 pm

  30. Thanks for the Spiked quotes on Nargis and the 2004 tsunami. No, I hadn’t seen them before, so I now know that Spiked has consistently adopted the line of opposing depictions of carnage in the wake of disasters whether man made or natural. I wonder whether Spiked would treat the harrowing images of the wretched, skeletal Jewish survivors discovered at the concentration camps by allied soldiers in 1945 as ‘infotainment for necrophiliacs’. However, I aimed my criticism at the world media, rather than Spiked, global TV (excluding a few such as al jazeera) has clearly adopted a different approach toward the depiction of the carnage in Gaza, for political reasons rather than any of ‘taste and decency’.

    Comment by Fellow Traveller — January 24, 2009 @ 6:41 pm

  31. Anti-human, whatever in the world does that mean anyway?

    Anyway, they didn’t like cyclones and tsunami reportage, maybe because even though the events in question may not have much directly to do with global warming they give us a taste of what will come. Great principles at work? I don’t think so.

    Comment by SGuy — January 24, 2009 @ 7:26 pm

  32. What could have been in worse taste or more insensitive than those photos that
    Lynndie England and Charles Graner took at Abu Ghraib? The TV networks, for whatever their reasons, showed them incessently. Maybe we should have stopped looking because the networks’ motives were murky? On the contrary, the shots should have been enlarged life-size and posted in all U.S. churches and other places where politicians habitually say God bless this or that.

    Comment by Peter Byrne — January 24, 2009 @ 7:49 pm

  33. Qubic

    This thread initially began with Loius argument that Spiked have become pro-zionist. I quoted a number of articles (from three different people from five articles on spiked) in support of Loius position where they had attacked the pro-palestinian solidarity demos by dubious and lying means. No one has rejected any of the quotes, and there are others, so are they or are they not pro-zionist? Pro-zionism doesn’t only mean Melanie Philips. And if not please prove me wrong. (where for example is their argument against two states and in favour of a single state).

    I am used to spiked’s (LM) baiting of the left over the years but was frankly amazed at the depths they have gone in making up stuff about a wave of solidarity with the palestinians, which has resulted in student occupations, the biggest demonstrations since 2003 and, hopefully, unions breaking from the stranglehold of zionism in the UK labour movement (for example the British TUC denies that Palestinian TUs have called for a boycott, which is a lie, and says that its own role is as a “honest broker” between Palestinian TUs and the Histradut).

    I was at a union meeting today (media workers) where people criticised the coverage of the war (including the BBC’s refusal to run an advert for aid to Gaza), are the trade unionists objectively pro-UN? (BTw i did see some demonstrators today after the meeting, they had been at the BBC with placards calling for an “end to the siege of Gaza” and for “fair reporting”. I might say that the last demand was liberal but none of them are pro-UN or calling for more dead people on the TV screens.)

    all movements that come into struggle have confused ideas but the task of Marxists is to clarify these ideas and offer a lead in action, and I emphasise action.

    Which brings me to the question of humanitarian aid. For the sake of argument let me accept your position that aid is a cover for UN intervention and compromising Hamas into a two states solution (there is truth in that, btw I am in favour on a single, secular state of Palestine of both Jews and Arabs. I believe Hamas, Fatah and Hezbollah will accept a two states deal)

    Support for aid and the palestinians right to self-determination is a contradiction (in your terms). But a contradiction exists materially not as an ideal and must be superseded in reality. Marxists attempt to reslve the contradiction in favour of the working class and oppressed.

    But all you have done is to resolve it in your mind. Humanitarian aid means UN intervention and therefore must be opposed if you support self determination for the Gazans/palestinians. ie it has become an either/or question, an idealist position.

    If you try to resolve it materially then you can argue for aids without strings, aid from solidarity organisations that accept the palestinians right to self determination, no UN intervention and crucially that the palestinians control the aid themselves by forming committees to distribute etc. This would set them against UN/ngos and Hamas (that being the transitional part of it). This would go hand in hand with arguing for self determination for the palestinians.

    All of this is difficult to argue but what is the alternative?

    Otherwise you are left with your two positions: oppose aid that de facto means that the Gazans will die in greater numbers, and the media should ignore them (as i have evidenced in a posting above). ie a position that is objectively pro-zionist. So we have an objectively pro-Zionist position and a subjective one (as evidenced in their articles that I have quoted above. (and I do encourage people to go and read them beyond the first few paras and Leon quotes. Afterall Stalin quoted Marx, Engels, and Lenin in his destruction of the Bolsheviks).

    Marx’s point about being determines consciousness is not just something that happened years ago, it is determinant catagory of life. If you sup at the nosebag of the bourgeoisie long enough you will reflect their ideas.

    Comment by keefer — January 24, 2009 @ 8:37 pm

  34. Now the dust has settled, let me ask, who would even think what a guy who can’t remember Ariel Sharon’s name has anything to say about Palestine?

    Comment by Chuckie K — January 27, 2009 @ 1:19 am

  35. And who reads Furedi’s crap anyway? A handful of masochists and possibly workers at the recycling plant skimming through it during a particularly dull tea break. His influence on the ideas and activities of the real Left is about the same as my cat’s.

    Comment by Doug — January 28, 2009 @ 10:11 am

  36. I think the tragedy of Spiked is that they are so close to the truth, but out of the desperate need to paint themselves into the opposite corner to the left on ‘every* issue they end up espousing, well, let us be frank, complete nonsense on many issues.

    Check out my critique at:

    http://nathancoombs.wordpress.com/2008/11/04/the-bankruptcy-of-spikeds-liberal-humanism/

    Comment by Nathan Coombs — January 28, 2009 @ 7:53 pm

  37. Doug

    You are right. But they turn up quite a bit on BBC radio and occasionally newspapers where they put themselves forward as the left, then go and attack the left and suck up to the right. That’s why the bosses use them “here are so-called MArxists who diss Marx”. Brendan o” Neil once wrote for bosses’ magazines such as the Spectator when the London Mayor Conservative Boris Johnson was editor (a couple of them now work for him) where he twisted and turned Marx into some free market evangelist to the right of Adam Smith. Lkewise Hume and his columns in the London Times.

    The Daily Telegraph had an article about the return of Marx last October where it enlisted seven thinkers (I use the term loosely even if the Telegraph doesn’t) to talk about the importance of Marx. Three were clapped out Stalinists (including a comedian) and three were Furedities including the man himself. They were of course all opposed to Marx.

    The BBC has a weekly radio show called the the Moral Maze where two of them Clare Fox and Kenan Malik sit alongside Melanie Phillips (yes that one) and discuss the moral issues of the week. I couldn’t bother to listen to its Gaza coverage. If anyone has a strong stomach go ahead and see how principled the fureidites were (the BBC radio programmes are usually on line for a while). Please let us know

    Comment by keefer — January 28, 2009 @ 7:58 pm

  38. From an article published in 1997, not a bad prediction:

    ‘So where can the former members and supporters of the now-defunct RCP go now? Organising events like the recent three-day conference on free speech with a wide assortment of media personalities, famous novelists, stand-up comedians, fashionable artists and computer games designers may keep it going for a bit. There’s scope for individual members or supporters in carving out a career in the academic or media world, having a book published, or getting a website put on-line, but just what sort of longer-term perspective the group can possibly have is unclear. It seems that the former RCP is operating as some kind of umbrella organisation for a slew of think-tanks on a wide range of topics, largely concerning the media, censorship and regulation. Whilst cultural issues are obviously an important area for study, you can’t maintain for long anything resembling a political organisation solely on these grounds.

    ‘As for ideological direction, the editorial of the March 1998 LM says that its agenda is ‘based on a firm belief in the much-maligned human and individual potential’. Fair enough in and of itself, it is woefully inadequate for any coherent political orientation, and, having rejected Marxism and thus losing the theoretical stability that it provides, the ex-RCP may well fragment with bits flying off in all manner of strange directions. Because the RCP eschewed the usual left-wing tactics of critical support for and entry into reformist organisations, it is unlikely that many of its adherents will end up following the course of many disillusioned Marxists into the byways of reformism.

    ‘One possible trajectory is right-wing libertarianism. As I mentioned in the last New Interventions, not a little of what appears in LM is disturbingly reminiscent of this trend, a political cul-de-sac if ever there was one, but one that could appeal as happily as liberalism or Marxism to ‘a firm belief in the … human and individual potential’. Stripped of any concept of class-based collectivity, the reinvigoration of subjectivity and the individual called for by LM could easily in practice result in the disinterment of that classic petit-bourgeois myth, the rugged individual.’

    Read the rest here.

    http://www.whatnextjournal.co.uk/pages/Newint/Rcp.html

    On a more jocular note, a friend of mine, looking at the British left, wrote this a year back:

    ‘The Revolutionary Communist Party, the last group in Britain to go through any real process of growth, has disappeared altogether, with its minuscule inner core surviving as a noisy if ineffectual right-wing libertarian think-tank. Leaving his exegeses on Marx’s Capital far behind him, the RCP’s guru Frank Füredi now rabbits on about the ‘culture of low expectations’, a theory brilliantly confirmed by the evolution of his group — from wanting to change the world to whinging about it like a cut-price Julie Burchill. Readers will, however, be gratified to learn that the group’s insufferable arrogance has survived the transformation, thus proving, in an interesting twist of the dialectic, that the content of a phenomenon can change dramatically, whilst its form remains unaltered.’

    Comment by Dr Paul — January 28, 2009 @ 10:41 pm

  39. Nice one. It’s strange how people who like to think of themselves as cutting edge thinkers and contrarians e.g. Furedi, Hitchens, are so original they provide intellectual justifications for the ruling classes and imperialism. How heroic these guiding lights are. And, of course, no doubt they live very carefree, comfortable lives, unlike most of the people they rail against. They’re loathsome scum.

    Comment by Doug — January 29, 2009 @ 4:44 pm

  40. “Readers will, however, be gratified to learn that the group’s insufferable arrogance has survived the transformation, thus proving, in an interesting twist of the dialectic, that the content of a phenomenon can change dramatically, whilst its form remains unaltered.”

    That’s a great quote – so true as well.

    Comment by Nathan Coombs — January 30, 2009 @ 11:39 am

  41. Good article Louis. I return the compliment by posting a link to my own article ‘Spiked by Spiked’ http://azvsas.blogspot.com/2009/03/spiked-by-spiked.html.

    Here are a few random thoughts in no particular order.

    i. Furedi did indeed start off his article by saying that Zionists regularly label their opponents as anti-Semitic. But then he went off on one. To wit, he wrote that:

    ‘The fourth complication poses the greatest problem. Because in contemporary Europe there are many and various obstacles to the expression of anti-Semitic sentiments in their traditional form, prejudice towards Jews is now likely to be expressed indirectly, through other issues. Although criticism of Israel can and should be conceptually distinguished from prejudice towards Jewish people, in recent years there has been a significant erosion of the distinction between these two phenomena. As a result, some people have embraced the anti-Israeli cause as a way of making a statement about their attitude towards Jews.’

    So, stripped to the bones, what he is saying is that anti-Zionism is now the vehicle for anti-Semites who are not able to come out under their original colours.

    So he continues under the sub-title ‘New expressions of anti-Semitism’ that ‘There
    is considerable evidence that in recent years anti-Semitism has acquired greater visibility and force in Europe.’

    This is the sloppiness of these charlatans. What does he mean by anti-Semitism. Who says it’s acquired greater visibility, and what does that mean? In fact anti-Semitism has all but disappeared and the only thing keeping it alive is Israel’s war crimes on behalf of ALL Jews.

    You should read my article because they accepted I could reply to an attack from the miserable and lightweight Zionist, Nathalie Rothschild, who belives Israel’s blitzkrieg was the most humanitarian on record (after all they texted their victims first to tell them to get out!! Just the line the New York Governor took at a ‘we hate Arabs’ rally – but he doesn’t claim to be on the left).

    Other points. Herzl began from the position that to fight anti-Semitism was impossible as it was ingrained in non-Jews (gentiles). He spoke in his pamphlet ‘Der Judenstaat’ of using it like a machine uses steam. In other words Zionism came to terms with anti-Semitism and even, again in Herzl’s own words, saw in it a ‘divine will to good’. THere are too many examples of Zionist collaboration with anti-Semites to go into them but a couple of interesting snippets.

    When Herzl published his Jewish State pamphlet he looked for favourable reviews. And who did he badger? Why none other than Eduard Drumont, editor of the main French anti-Semitic newspaper La Libre Parole. And yes, Drumont rewarded him with a good review.

    And when Herzl visited the Grand Duke of Baden, one of the Kaiser’s relatives, the Grand Duke was all in favour of Zionism, it would after all get rid of those Jews. But he had one problem. If he supported Zionism then he might be accused of anti-Semitism!! (see his Diaries for the above).

    In fact, again as my article details, O’Neill does indeed base his article on Leon and Weinstock. Problem is he understands neither. Leon in particular was quite clear. The Jews survived through the centuries because their social and economic role distinguished them from non-Jews. And as the Jews changed so did anti-Semitism. As he wrote (from memory): ‘Zionism transposes anti-semitism to all of history and saves itself the trouble of understanding it.’

    That is LM/Spiked’s problem. It treats it as an ahistorical, uniform phenomenon.

    The lightweight Rothschild is even worse but the overall contribution of these people is yet another ‘left’ attempt to justify Zionism by reference to ‘anti-Semitism’. I didn’t go back to the AWL source that Furedi uses, but he is wrong anyway. The problem was that Jewish anti-Zionists like me were banned, not Zionists.

    But to end on a happy note. The Times has sacked Mick Hume for being a boring fucker. And when I first saw that photo of Furedi I thought he was playing with himself!!

    Comment by Tony Greenstein — March 20, 2009 @ 11:18 pm

  42. I’ve just posted this on Tony Greenstein’s Blog:

    I think that Spiked’s standpoint here is a result of its trying to be different. I recall my days as an RCP supporter when I started to wonder if policy determination was carried out by looking at the left, then devising a position that would mark us out as different, thus giving us (hopefully) a prime position in the marketplace of left-wing groups and politics.

    As the RCP wound down in the early 1990s, it started to base its politics on a critique of the liberal press; and this process has continued with the dissolution of the party in 1997 (it was pretty much defunct by then anyway) and its continuation as Spiked.

    Spiked bases itself on rejecting liberal positions, occasionally still from the left, more often from the right, although it is difficult to ascertain any hard political positions, or any overall political orientation.

    I’m no fan of Greenery, I’m a bit of a Victorian believer in progress (I’m a Marxist, so I would be), but Spiked’s anti-Greenery and uncritical hailing of technology would put a Victorian engineer to shame — and comes uncomfortably close to certain factions of big business.

    In respect of Palestine and Israel, the liberal media has finally awoken to the real nature of Zionism, so has started to make some substantial critiques of Zionism and Israel. Spiked, to fulfil its role as contrarian critic of liberalism, is obliged to push the rudder in the opposite direction. And look where it ends up… with a totally discredited orthodoxy.

    Comment by Dr Paul — March 21, 2009 @ 1:39 pm

  43. Dr.Paul: “In respect of Palestine and Israel, the liberal media has finally awoken to the real nature of Zionism, so has started to make some substantial critiques of Zionism and Israel. ”

    I guess you are talking about England, cause it sure ain’t true in the U.S. I think Rachel Maddow, who most liberals see as their greatest champion on television is an out-right zionist. I’ve never heard any liberal on MSM media be sympathetic to the Palestinians. If someone here knows otherwise I would love to hear of it. We have a great wall to climb.

    Comment by haensgen — August 2, 2011 @ 8:15 pm

  44. The neo-nazi Golden Dawn party and why the Greek left does not confront them http://iakovosalhadeff.hubpages.com/hub/Greece-Israel-the-Arab-countries

    Comment by Iakovos Alhadeff — April 10, 2014 @ 9:08 pm


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