Louis Proyect: The Unrepentant Marxist

June 25, 2015

The Jewish Voice for Peace Attack on Alison Weir: JVP Loses Its Balance

Filed under: Palestine,zionism — louisproyect @ 1:11 pm

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A guest post by Amith Gupta, NYU Law Student

Feel free to forward this widely. Contact me if you would like to publish some or all of it.

A personal note: I did not intend on sending this or discussing this any further. But, for the last three years, I have been pushed and pushed to speak about Alison Weir, not out of support for her politics, but out of alienation by those who have attacked her.

Below is a consolidated version of some of the things I have written to associates on organizing lists about the recent statement by Jewish Voices for Peace to malign Alison Weir, which was mass-mailed to various chapters and list-servs. I did not intend to write anything further, but I have had ten people contact me to tell me to spread this further in 24 hours.

These comments are NOT made out of support for If Americans Knew NOR out of opposition to Jewish Voice for Peace. These comments should NOT be read as a defense of any unnamed persons who have separately been accused of anti-Semitism, nor should they be interpreted to suggest that anti-Semitism is not a problem or that it does not exist.

These comments are ENTIRELY PERSONAL and do not constitute endorsement from ANY organization with which I have worked or currently work with, and do not necessarily imply agreement from any of the individuals mentioned or cited. They should not appear as an endorsement of any particular individual or group that shares or circulates them.

These are made for the movement, as a whole, which desperately needs internal criticism of its increasingly problematic and racist politics.

1) Disclaimer: I do not have any formal or organizational affiliation with Alison Weir or her organization, If Americans Knew.

2) My personal experience with the smear campaign against Weir.

3) JVP’s entire accusation against Weir is based on guilt by association and could easily apply to some of the most prominent voices in the movement for Palestine solidarity, including Noam Chomsky, Edward Said, Dilip Hiro, Ilan Pappe, Jennifer Loewenstein, Ray McGovern, Joseph Massad, Norman Finkelstein, Glenn Greenwald, Pete McCloskey, Philip Weiss, Richard Falk, John Mearsheimer, Lenni Brenner, and Rachel Corrie’s parents.

a. Alison Weir has not endorsed nor agreed with the racist views expressed by those with whom she has been associated

b. It is unwise to expect Weir or anyone else to completely ignore the communities that are vulnerable to such racism (see below).

4) Inaccurate and hypocritical accusations of ethnic chauvinism

a. Losing Balance: While JVP alleges that IAK downplays the value of Palestinian voices, it is JVP which is constructed on seeing Jewish voices as “particularly legitimateaccording to the JVP website.

b. If Americans Knew and Alison Weir have been principled and expansive in working with Palestinians, Arabs, Muslims, and Palestinian/Arab-Americans, including the Al-Awda Right to Return Coalition and the Beit Sahour-based International Middle East Media Center; both organizations are run and staffed by Palestinians and Palestinian-Americans. The organization has publicly and explicitly supported the full Palestinian-led call for BDS since at least 2006.

c. JVP has not been principled in working with Palestinians, Arabs, Muslims, and Palestinian/Arab-Americans, barring its chapters from working with groups of any ethnicity that take overtly anti-Zionist slogans and politically vetting those Middle Easterners and Muslims with whom they work. It also took JVP ten years to endorse the full BDS call.

d. JVP ‘s statement appears to suggest that Jews alone can define anti-Semitism, despite knowing that such accusations can implicate racism and violence against Arab, Muslim, and Palestinian communities. This is a form of ethnic chauvinism.

e. JVP’s statement suggests that all Jews are somehow personally or familially connected to Israel, a restatement of Zionism

f. JVP’s statement suggests that American imperialism and warfare benefits Americans as a whole, undermining the American anti-war movement and contradicting prior stances that JVP has taken

5) JVP has taken at least 4 different positions on Zionism, implying a lack of any principle regarding racism and colonialism against Palestine in particular and the Middle East as a whole.

a. Open-Ended: JVP’s guidelines state a refusal to state their beliefs in terms of the word “Zionism”

b. Restricted: JVP’s guidelines state that their chapters are banned from working with organizations that use “anti-Zionist demands or slogans”, presumably including Al-Awda and the International Jewish Anti-Zionist Network

c. Pro-Zionist: JVP interprets Jews, as a group, to be connected to the Middle East, which is Zionism (see above).

d. Anti-Zionist when condemning anti-Semitism: JVP has recirculated letters that explicitly argue that Zionism is a form of racism in the context of disavowing a British-Israeli author for his apparently anti-Jewish statements. The statement against this man is included in their statement against Weir. The implication is that condemning Zionism as a form of racism is acceptable, provided the condemnation is made while disavowing someone for anti-Semitism.

e. JVP’s statements imply a lack of principled positions regarding racism against Palestinians, Arabs, and Muslims, while taking a staunch position against perceived racism toward the Jewish community. This is a racist double-standard.

6) Racism, Colonialism, and Identity Politics

a. Optics & the White Gaze: JVP and IAK are both “identitarian” groups that have sought to navigate the maze of racism in the United States.

b. The racist and colonial roots of anti-Semitism allegations against Palestine solidarity organizers per se.

c. While neither group has navigated perfectly, JVP’s position in particular is highly problematic and warrants serious criticism.

7) JVP has taken an inconsistent position on engagement with “the Right” and those who are in danger of being misled and exploited by xenophobic, right-wing racism.

a. My personal experiences with right-wing racism as a person of color and the son of immigrants.

b. The roots of “the right” and the dangers of ignoring their misguided flock.

c. JVP has not opposed engagement with right-wing elements of the Jewish or Israeli communities.

8) Other Resources that I consider informative.

a. Noam Chomsky on accusations of anti-Semitism within left-wing and anti-racist movements.

b. Joseph Massad: “Sartre, European Intellectuals, and Zionism”

c. Philip Weiss: “Conservatives for Palestine”

d. Norman Finkelstein on ADL anti-Semitism survey and what qualifies as anti-Semitism

e. Louis Proyect: “The Anti-Semitism Canard”

f. Lenni Brenner, “The Demographics of American Jews”

g. Jacobin Magazine: Checkered History of Palestine and the Left

9) Addendum: Spencer Sunshine’s PRA attack on Alison Weir and “Campus Anti-Semitism”

a. The original report

b. The attack on Weir

I) Disclaimer

I have no association with Alison Weir outside of meeting her a few times at activist summits/conferences. I recommended her website to others in the early 2000s when If Americans Knew and electronicintifada were the only pro-Palestinian news sources I knew of, and when I was in college I constructed a banner with the website on it. The last time I saw her, I believe it was when she was the keynote speaker at the convention for Al-Awda, the Right of Return Coalition, which is a large-scale, broad-based Palestinian anti-Zionist organization.

Nonetheless, I find JVP’s statement highly, highly problematic.

II) The Smear Campaign

I’ve never seen someone’s name dragged through the mud as with her. In the past, I worked with an organization at the national level. At the time, I did not know that there was any real controversy regarding how she was perceived; I had only ever heard one person suggest she was an anti-Semite, and I assumed it was just a personal difference. I had seen Alison Weir give a short workshop at the 2012 “Occupy AIPAC!” summit that was organized by Code Pink, so I contacted Weir’s organization about either giving a workshop or tabling at a conference with the organization I was working with. I let the other organizers know, some of them flipped out, claiming she was an anti-Semite. I asked why they believed so, and they responded by accusing me of lacking trust (even though I didn’t know any of these people except via internet), and it was a long, drawn out, angry battle from there.

I was never given any actual reason why they believed she was anti-Semitic. It honestly intimidated me that a people whom I barely knew were willing to label someone else I barely knew an anti-Semite, without being able to at least explain why they felt this way. It scared me, because it made me think that these organizers could have easily made the same accusations against me, no reasoning necessary. It reminded me of COINTELPRO.

After the episode was resolved, one of the organizers posted a link to the letter referenced in the JVP statement in which several Palestinians disavow racism, as if to suggest that those of us who did not agree with the accusations against Weir were ourselves guilty of racism.

III) Guilt By Association

So it is worth giving JVP credit for at least explaining why they feel that Alison Weir is bigoted. But I think the reasons they have given are problematic. JVP points out that Weir gave interviews to a right-wing extremist, and, in their view, failed to properly challenge racist and bigoted statements made by the host.

But appearing on someone’s radio show, including a bigot’s, doesn’t exactly imply an endorsement. Weir also claims that she did express disagreement when those bigoted ideas were voiced, but in either case, it seems like JVP is quite openly admitting that the entire claim is based on guilt by association.

Reading the transcript of her interview with the right-wing extremist, Weir sounds like she is doing her best answering questions from a person who does not sound as though he is “all there”. Interrupting this individual any time he made racist comments would require interrupting him virtually every other sentence. But that is not a reason to completely avoid this individual’s listener base, especially as that base is particularly vulnerable to the sort of racist and violent propaganda that is regularly pushed by both anti- and pro-Israel segments of the far-right against Arabs, Muslims, immigrants, and others (see section VII below).

The rest of the accusations are similarly based on association, pointing to writing and publications rather than radio interviews. With regard to publications, is it even Weir’s obligation to go around checking what seedy groups might have exploited her work and then disavow them?

Would JVP suggest that Norman Finkelstein is an anti-Semite, because many of his earlier works criticizing the exploitation of the Holocaust have appeared in genocide denial publications?

Would they suggest that Chomsky is some sort of anti-Semite because he has appeared on all sorts of right-wing media for odd reasons? Would they claim Noam Chomsky is a racist for “failing to disavow” people who have used his writing for nefarious purposes?

How about Joseph Massad, whose Al Jazeera piece “The Last of the Semites” has shown up in nasty places?

Weir has separately – and correctly — pointed out that JVP’s attacks would also implicate prominent American peace activist Ray McGovern; Palestine solidarity activist and journalist Jennifer Loewenstein; Israeli professor and author of “The Ethnic Cleansing of Palestine,” Ilan Pappe; journalist Dilip Hiro; Edward Said; Noam Chomsky; and parents of slain ISM activist Cindy and Craig Corrie.

JVP’s statements also appear to implicate award-winning journalist and publisher of the Snowden leaks Glenn Greenwald, Jewish historian Lenni Brenner, MondoWeiss blogger Phil Weiss; anti-war Congressman Pete McCloskey; and a slew of others.

IV) “Ethnic Chauvinism”

A) JVP alleges that IAK and Alison Weir have expressed the nationalistic and chauvinistic view that only “Americans” who aren’t ethnically associated with Israel/Palestine can make meaningful or “objective” conclusions. It is a strange criticism to hear from a group calling itself “Jewish Voice for Peace”. But compare the positions the groups have taken: IAK has been expansive and principled in engaging and working with Palestinian and Palestinian-American communities — more so than JVP.

Here is what JVP said in their message about Weir:

“For example, in IAK’s “Our Story” on their website it reads:

[Alison Weir] founded an organization to be directed by Americans without personal or family ties to the region who would research and actively disseminate accurate information to the American public.

In other words, according to Weir and If Americans Knew, only non-Arab, non-Muslim, non-Palestinian, and non-Jewish voices can be trusted to speak the truth, based solely on their ethnic or religious identity.

Notions of objectivity are routinely used to discredit the experiences of those most directly affected by oppression. But no one is objective, least of all Americans who benefit from the U.S. government’s destructive interventionist and white supremacist policies around the world [emphasis added]”

Compare this with what JVP says on its own FAQ page:

“Q: Why are you a Jewish group? Can’t you just be a peace group?

“A: …

“Because we are Jews, we have a particular legitimacy in voicing an alternative view of American and Israeli actions and policies. As Jews, we can make the distinction between real anti-Semitism and the cynical manipulation of that issue to shield Israel from legitimate criticism. [emphasis added].

How is founding an organization directed by Americans who aren’t tied to the region any less chauvinistic than suggesting — and then exploiting — that Jews have a “particular legitimacy” in speaking out? Contrast that with JVP Director Rebecca Vilkomerson’s own statements on the matter:

“…So we have to be aware of the privileging of Jewish voices, and the racism and Islamophobia that underlay that privilege. It’s a balancing act and not an easy one. Its about an awareness of playing into notions of who is entitled to speak out about Israel and Palestine and making sure we are not replicating the very systems of privilege there that we are working so hard to break down, while also being willing to use our voices as Jews to change and challenge some very deep preconceptions.

In practice, both JVP and IAK are constructed on forms of identity politics, knowing full well that a thoroughly racist society would view their organizations with greater “legitimacy” due to their ethnic identifiers (“Jewish” and “American” respectively). Both groups have used such identifiers while also attempting to open spaces of dialog and speech for Arab, Muslim, and Palestinian organizations. How can JVP condemn IAK for pursuing the same “balancing act” that JVP works to navigate? There’s one easy answer: JVP has lost its balance.

B) In reality, If Americans Knew has gone even further than JVP in promoting Palestinian voices and organizations. If Americans Knew has embraced the Palestinian-led call for Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions as one of its strategies of “resistance” since at least 2006:

http://www.ifamericansknew.org/cur_sit/boycott.html

“By Mazin Qumsiyeh

“…In July 2005, more than 170 Palestinian civil society organizations issued a historic document. It articulated Israel’s persistent violations of international and humanitarian laws and conventions and called upon “international civil society organizations and people of conscience all over the world to impose broad boycotts and implement divestment initiatives against Israel similar to those applied to South Africa in the apartheid era.”

The call stated that “these non-violent punitive measures should be maintained until Israel meets its obligation to recognize the Palestinian people’s inalienable right to self-determination and fully complies with the precepts of international law by: ending its occupation and colonization of all Arab lands and dismantling the Wall; recognizing the fundamental rights of the Arab-Palestinian citizens of Israel to full equality; and respecting, protecting and promoting the rights of Palestinian refugees to return to their homes and properties as stipulated in UN resolution 194”[emphasis added].

IAK’s Executive Director was also keynote speaker at the convention for Al-Awda, the Right of Return Coalition, which is a large-scale, broad-based Palestinian anti-Zionist organization. Finally, IAK’s primary source of news promotion is the Beit Sahour-based Palestinian media collective, the IMEMC. Even a brief perusal of the If Americans Knew website makes it clear that IAK’s media campaign relies heavily on promoting Palestinian and Arab voices, including the Palestinian Ma’an News Agency, Qatar-based Al Jazeera, and various podcasts and live broadcasting from Palestine.

C) In contrast, JVP took over ten years to endorse the Palestinian BDS call. Here is what their “Guidelines” page currently states:

Jewish Voice for Peace (JVP) endorses the call from Palestinian civil society for Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) as part of our work for freedom, justice and equality for all people. We believe that the time-honored, non-violent tools proposed by the BDS call provide powerful opportunities to make that vision real [emphasis added].

We join with communities of conscience around the world in supporting Palestinians, who call for BDS until the Israeli government…By endorsing the call, we make our hope real and our love visible and we claim our own liberation as bound with the liberation of all [emphasis added].

But here is the position JVP took prior to March 25th, 2015:

The boycott/divestment/sanctions movement (BDS) encompasses a variety of tactics and targets.  JVP rejects the assertion that BDS is inherently anti-semitic, and we encourage discussion both within our own community and outside of it of the growing BDS movement. JVP defends activists’ right to use the full range of BDS tactics without being persecuted or demonized. We support divestment from and boycotts of companies that profit from Israel’s occupation of the West Bank, Gaza, and East Jerusalem. This includes companies operating in or from occupied Palestinian territory, exploiting Palestinian labor and scarce environmental resources, providing materials or labor for settlements, or producing military or other equipment or materials used to violate human rights or to profit from the Occupation [emphasis added].

In other words, until a few months ago, JVP was willing to defend other people’s right to promote “freedom, justice, and equality of all peoples,” but they themselves were only willing to mobilize their resources toward the freedom, justice, and equality of some. JVP is invoking concepts like “freedom for all” but only when convenient. It is like saying “I promote equality all of the time, 60% of the time.

Furthermore, JVP appears to work almost entirely with left and liberal segments of the Palestinian-American community that are politically acceptable to them — for example, JVP bans its chapters from joining in coalitions with groups that use “anti-Zionist slogans,” which would presumably bar their leadership from working closely with Al-Awda.

JVP has also taken inconsistent positions on the subject of Zionism (see Section V).

D) JVP’s FAQ page also reads, “…As Jews, we can make the distinction between real anti-Semitism and the cynical manipulation of that issue to shield Israel from legitimate criticism.” What does this statement mean to imply, if not that Jews and only Jews are entitled to define what is anti-Jewish? JVP appears in its own statement to be fully aware that accusations of anti-Semitism can be used to “shield Israel from legitimate criticism”. Considering much of the “legitimate criticism” in question is about Israel’s racism against Arabs and others, this statement amounts to little more than ethnic chauvinism. Despite knowing that accusations of anti-Jewish bigotry can be used to shield racism against Arabs, JVP believes that Jews alone are entitled to draw the line with what amounts to legitimate criticism, as opposed to “anti-Semitism”. In the process, Arabs, and others who identify with the Palestinian cause can be muzzled if they disagree with the limits set by a Jewish group — which is what has happened here.

E) Note also that the JVP statement against Weir interprets the phrase “without personal or familial ties to the region” to imply the exclusion of Jewish voices. Is JVP suggesting that every Jew has personal or familial ties to Israel? This is Zionism.

F) JVP’s statement also alleges that “Americans” have benefited from the US’ interventionist and white supremacist policies. This is a very strange position for a peace group to take. While there is no comparison between the situation of American victims of imperialism and those of its citizens, American warfare abroad has resulted in thousands of Americans being maimed and killed; a massive increase in international threats to the American public; and the waste of billions of dollars that could have been spent on social resources. Indeed, JVP appears to be very committed to the notion that Israeli policies of aggression against Palestinians harm Israelis; so why does JVP feel differently about US policies, of which support for Israel is one?

It is also difficult to imagine that JVP can make any in-roads within the United States if they are opposed to policies which they mistakenly believe to benefit Americans.

V) JVP on Zionism.

JVP has taken at least four different positions on Zionism.

A) First, JVP refuses to condemn Zionism as a form of racism in order to pander to racist people within the Jewish community to form a “big tent”. While admitting that Zionism is a form of racism in other releases and admitting anti-Zionists as individuals, the group says the following about Zionism:

The terms, “Zionism” and “Jewish state,” are emotionally loaded and defined differently by different people. [JVP] do not articulate our positions in these terms, but instead in terms that affirm the values we endorse: equality, human rights, democracy, and respect for international law.” [emphasis added].

Despite condemning Weir for reaching out to groups with problematic and racist ideas, JVP’s own views on Zionism — the most obvious form of racism relevant to the Palestinian struggle — are explicitly based on pandering to racist people in order to form a united front. It is difficult to imagine that JVP can effectively promote “equality, human rights, democracy,” etc. while explicitly seeking to pander to those who identify so closely with the colonial enterprise of Zionism that they would refuse to work with JVP if it condemned Zionism as racism.

B) JVP even goes further to bar its chapters from working with groups that use “anti-Zionist slogans or demands”:

A JVP group may join in coalition with pro-Zionist or anti-Zionist groups.  JVP groups may not participate in a coalition whose demands or slogans are pro- or anti-Zionist.

That would presumably include principled organizations like the International Jewish Anti-Zionist Network and Al-Awda, which condemns Zionism as a form of racism in its points of unity.

It is also difficult to imagine that JVP could ever work with any Palestinian organization that is remotely representative of the Palestinian struggle if it demands that its coalition partners effectively sanitize Zionism in their sloganeering or in any political demands that they make. The effect of this is that organizations cannot critically oppose the colonial ideology that underpins the ethnic cleansing of Palestine or stigmatize this enterprise in public fora. If JVP was around prior to the collapse of the Soviet Union, JVP would not have been able to rally support behind the infamous and powerful UN resolution defining Zionism as a form of racism.

C) As noted above, JVP’s statement on IAK  also interprets Jews, as a group, to be personally and familially connected to the Middle East. This is a frank admission that JVP believes in and endorses Zionism.

D)  Ironically, while JVP refuses to use the term “Zionism” to articulate its message and bans its chapters from joining in coalitions with groups that use anti-Zionist slogans, it did not mind circulating a letter by Palestinians disavowing controversial British-Israeli writer and alleged anti-Semite Gilad Atzmon, which explicitly rejects Zionism as a form of racism. In other words, when disavowing people like Weir (or Atzmon), it is apparently okay to stretch these arbitrary rules.

E) JVP’s varying stands on Zionism, when contrasted with the group’s ideas of anti-Semitism, exhibit a racist double standard. With regard to racism and colonialism being carried out against Palestinians and Arabs, JVP will take varying stances depending on the circumstances, although it appears that the usual stance is to apologetically write off Zionism as a touchy subject while barring its chapters from coalition-building with groups that are both principled and more likely to be representative of Palestinian demands. In contrast, when discussing anti-Semitism, JVP will go out of its way to launch a behind-the-scenes “whispering campaign” before publicly disavowing a fellow activist, solely based on a guilty association with anti-Semitism. While there is pragmatism in reaching out to those with ignorant or apologetic views within the Jewish community, it does not make sense that JVP would go out of its way to attack others in this fashion except out of a failure to confront their own internal racism.

VI) Racism, Colonialism, and Identity Politics

Overall, this is not about disavowing racism, which is unfortunately pervasive in American society, including its activist organizations. It is about optics. Knowing full well that the “white gaze” of American society views only certain groups with ethnic legitimacy, JVP and IAK have charted out different political strategies in terms of how to navigate the maze. Accusations of anti-Semitism against Palestine solidarity organizing per se are entirely based on the colonial construction of Jews-as-civilized and Palestinians-as-savages whose rights and existence threaten the civilized (AKA Jews).

JVP appears to have taken the strategy of mobilizing liberal and left Jewish voices, even if it means pandering to racism within the Jewish community.

IAK has charted out a different strategy, based on a much wider tent for which the centerpiece is “national interest” and American-centric rhetoric that portrays Zionism as a deviation from the interests of the average American. JVP appears to think this is apologism for America’s crimes (see Section V). But American policy is largely undemocratic, driven by interest groups and donors, and disconnected from the average person. If anything, IAK’s position is a recognition that colonialism/imperialism are driven by elite interests, rather than the reductionist view that suggests there is something inherent about “America” that makes its regime support Israel in a vacuum, removed from the institutional interests of ruling elements (including lobbies).

In any case, without endorsing Alison Weir’s politics as a whole, I think JVP’s position is highly problematic for those reasons. I have removed myself from their list-serv. Personally, I do not find the idea of a distinctly “Jewish” organization that opposes Zionism to be problematic. I am a fan of groups like the International Jewish Anti-Zionist Network. But JVP’s criticisms of Weir appear less to be motivated by any nefarious associations that Weir (or anyone else) might have and more based on their own highly problematic identity politics.

Additional subjects and resources below.

VII) Avoiding the Right — Sometimes

I think it is worth discussing a major organizing flaw that seems to permeate well past Palestine-organizing: not engaging the communities that are most likely to be exploited by the right:

“The enemy is laughing at you. You can wear a t-shirt with the hammer and sickle, you can even hold a huge flag, many, many feet long and go back home with your flag while the enemy is laughing at you because the people, the workers, prefer the enemy, they believe in the enemy. They understand the enemy when he talks, and they don’t understand you. And it’s possible that you’re right, and you can ask your children to put a placard on your grave: “He was always right, although nobody knew.” But when you study the successful experiences of the movements of transformation, you realize that the key to success is to achieve a connection between the reality you have diagnosed and what the majority actually feels and that is very difficult, that means engaging in contradictions…”

As far as I can tell, JVP’s statement correctly labels the radio host in question anti-Semitic. He appears to be a Neo-Nazi, supports former KKK leader David Duke, and appears to be primarily concerned with what he perceives as the decline of the white race. As a person who was raised in California to two non-white immigrant parents, I find that kind of politics to be, quite frankly, scary.

But I also know that in the past, many of the people who listen to such people are not committed to such hateful messages. They buy into it because those kinds of hateful people are the only ones that speak to their sense of frustration with real problems, like the economic crisis. It is very easy for a poor white person from the middle of America who sees the economic collapse take his job to start blaming ethnic cabals and conspiracies for his problems — you know, like that Muslim socialist President we have that was born in Kenya and is secretly a member of the Muslim Brotherhood? That is not because he is an avowed racist, it is because he is vulnerable to such messages from people like the radio host in question.

I know this because in my own personal experience of meeting people with, quite frankly, ignorant views on host of race-related subjects, I have found that many of them are not hateful or violent but simply misled. Properly engaging people in a way that they will actually understand and be placed on the right path is important, even if tricky. If even one person stopped listening to the radio host in question and started reading If Americans Knew, where they would hear not only from white American voices like their own, but also from Jewish voices, Palestinian and Arab voices, the United Nations, and the like, that is in my mind a small victory. That would not be possible if Alison Weir did not go on his bizarre radio show or interrupted him every time he said something racist, which was every other sentence.

Most importantly and ironically, it appears that JVP already knows this: that is why they have gone out of the way not to condemn Zionism, knowing (correctly) that to do so would immediately alienate Jewish people who have been brought up in communities where Zionism is a prevalent form of racism. There is wisdom is telling those segments of a society that are committed to various forms of racism to take a hike, but there is also wisdom in trying to put them on the right path, even if it means not always being able to shame them in the strongest terms.

As Weir pointed out, JVP would not be foolish enough to condemn Weir for appearing on Israeli right-wing radio shows, because they know as well as she does that there is at least some strategic wisdom in engaging the people who are most vulnerable to racist messages. There is plenty of historic similarity between poor white segments of American society and some parts of the Israeli settler movement which are also made up of poor and marginalized segments of Israeli society. It is no coincidence that the marginalized Mizrahi Jewish population of Israel also happens to be among the strongest of advocates for Israel’s proto-fascistic movements.

Finally, if the real issue is “justice for all,” then why did it take JVP ten years to endorse the boycott, and why do they bar their members from working with groups that use “anti-Zionist slogans” (see section V)? The answer is that they know that such decisions are not always easy to make when engaging a hostile, racist population. Alison appears to be aware of the same issue, albeit for a different population, and it is not right to publicly shame her for it.

VIII) Other Resources

A) Noam Chomsky speaking on accusations of anti-Semitism within left and anti-racist movements, mostly by left-liberals, SUNY New Paltz:

Q: “Incidents of anti-Semitism have come up at the Occupy protests. Why is anti-Semitism starting to rise among the left, and what is your advice to young Jewish activists?

Chomsky: As far as I know, it’s not true. [applause]

If you’re out to look for it, you can find things. When you take a big mass of people, you can find a little bit of almost anything.

On the other hand, this claim that there’s anti-Semitism on the left, just look at its history. Look at the early 1960s-70s. There was practically an industry of left-liberals, including the Democratic Socialists who were among the worst, trying to show that Dan Berrigan was an anti-Semite, that everyone who opened their mouths were anti-Semites. There were literally efforts — Seymour Martin Lipset well known sociologist, was running big studies to run through Black Panther newspapers to see if he could find a poem by a twelve-year-old kid which maybe had some anti-Semitic implications. Okay, that shows they’re all anti-Semites [sarcastically].

The cry of “anti-Semitism” is a good way to shut people up [applause] because nobody wants to be charged with that. I’d be pretty cautious about those charges. But if it’s real, then you respond to it. Whatever it is, anti-Semitism today isn’t even a toothpick on a mountain compared to anti-Muslim hysteria [applause].

A lot of the states in the Union here in [the United States] passing constitutional amendments to prevent the courts from using Halakha, Talmudic law [sarcastically]. If they did that, people wouldn’t even laugh. But there are states doing something equally laughable and ridiculous — except that it’s dangerous — which is trying to institute constitutional amendments to prevent the use of Sharia law. This is about as likely as an asteroid hitting the state [laughter]. But this is all over the place. That’s real.

The FBI is breaking into people’s houses and arresting them for what’s called “material support to terrorism” — meaning they said something favorable to Palestinian movements or something. Nothing like that is happening to the Jewish population. If there are any bits and pieces of anti-Semitism, then fine, shout at them or argue against it. But I think it’s extremely slight if it’s there at all, in comparison to major movements of hatred and repression, hatred of immigrants, blacks, racism, anti-Muslim racism which is an extraordinary and really major phenomenon. [applause]

B) Joseph Massad, “Sartre, Left Intellectuals, and Zionism”

“What is it about the nature of Zionism, its racism, and its colonial policies that continues to escape the understanding of many European intellectuals on the left? Why have the Palestinians received so little sympathy from prominent leftist intellectuals such as Jean- Paul Sartre and Michel Foucault or only contingent sympathy from others like Jacques Derrida, Pierre Bourdieu, Etienne Balibar, and Slavoj Zizek? Edward Said wrote once about his encounters with Sartre and Foucault (who were anti-Palestinian) and with Gilles Deleuze (who was anti-Zionist) in this regard. The intellectual and political commitments inaugurated by a pro-Zionist Sartre and observed by Said, however, remain emblematic of many of the attitudes of leftist and liberal European intellectuals today…”

C) Phil Weiss, “Conservatives for Palestine”

The national-interest crowd was traditionally silenced by the anti-Semitism charge. Scott McConnell showed how anti-Semitism charges were used to marginalize writers Joseph Sobran and Pat Buchanan when they took strong stands against Israel. Steve Walt said that the overuse of the charge by the lobby had helped undermine its power to blacklist speakers and arguments.

D) Norman Finkelstein, “Quick Thoughts: on the ADL Global 100, An Index of Anti-Semitism”

…I would also find it alarming if anyone except Abe Foxman (and perhaps the New York Times) gave a hoot about the poll’s conclusions [in which the ADL found that one quarter of the world is anti-Semitic]. Personally, I am alarmed by genocide and war, death from preventable diseases and from hunger, global warming and massive unemployment. I see no cause for alarm if not everyone loves by far the wealthiest and most successful ethnic group on the planet. Back in the day, most sensible people detested WASPs.

…is it even true that a quarter of the world’s population is anti-Semitic? I am actually surprised at how low the percentage is, in light of the calculated absurdity of the questions…

E) Louis Proyect, “The Anti-Semitism Canard”

There was a time when Jews suffered from institutional racism. At the turn of the century, Jews lived in the slums on the Lower East Side and could easily identified by their Yiddish accent. They suffered from discrimination and poverty on a level that matched that of Blacks or other oppressed groups historically. In Germany they were less oppressed despite the specious arguments of Daniel Goldhagen. It was only the Great Depression and the massive influx of Eastern European Jews into Germany that allowed Hitler to make use of the Jews as a scapegoat.

All that changed after WWII when Jews moved out of the tenements and into the mainstream. The second generation (my mom and dad’s) opened small businesses, went to colleges (most often state universities), lost their Yiddish accent, and even changed their last name to fit in. Bernard Schwartz became Tony Curtis and Issur Danielovitch became Kirk Douglas. If you were fortunate enough to make big bucks on Wall Street, you didn’t even have to change your name.

To put things into perspective, the Anti-Defamation League issued a report on anti-Semitics attacks in 2013 that covered the entire world. Not a single death was reported. Most of the incidents were of the sort that turns up in New York routinely, a swastika scrawled on a Synagogue wall or a gravestone overturned. Compare that to the fate of Muslims who face racism and murder every where they look, from Burma to Kashmir.

F) Lenni Brenner, “The Demographics of American Jews”

In 1991, I interviewed Harold Seneker, then the editor of the Forbes 400 list of the richest Americans, for an article in The Nation. I told him that I found Jews, 2.2% of the population, to be about 25% of the 400. He told me that he thought this a success story, both for American capitalism and for the Jews, and that he wanted to write a story on it. But Forbes wouldn’t let him. The then publisher had gone thru the Hitler era, when talking about Jewish money was an anti-Semitic specialty.

This mentality is still common on the left as well, and it is wide spread among elderly Jews. Forbes, much of the left, and old Jews share what must be called a ‘folk Marxist’ mentality. Despite the differences in their politics, they all believe that history repeats itself. Someday there is going to be another 1929 Depression. The capitalists will, once again, call up central casting and get another Hitler to smash the left.

This is fantasy. Its a projection of the past, and Germany’s past at that, into America’s future. In reality, journalists constantly turn out articles for Zionist publications about how Jewish campaign contributors play a major role in funding both parties and, very rarely, the topic is touched on in the mainstream media. “The Political Future of American Jews,” a1985 American Jewish Congress pamphlet by Seymour Martin Lipset and Earl Raab, declared that “While there have been few reliable statistics on the subject — and some reluctance to gather any — the journalistic and anecdotal evidence is overwhelming that more than a majority of Democratic funds on a national level, and as much as a quarter of Republican funds have come from Jewish sources.” They were referring to private contributions, as was an article in the 1/5/93 NY Times announcing that “Jews contributed about 60 percent of Mr. Clinton’s noninstitutional campaign funds.”

G) Jacobin Mag, “Palestine and the Left”

VIII) Addendum: Spencer Sunshine & PRA attack on Alison Weir and “Anti-Semitism”

Although it was not a part of my original conversations with others regarding Alison Weir, a piece written by a CUNY Graduate student and anarchist, Spencer Sunshine, has found its way to me. The piece, attacking Alison Weir and If Americans Knew, was commissioned by Political Research Associates, a liberal think-tank affiliated with Chip Berlet, and released originally in a 2014 report about what Berlet, Sunshine, and the others at PRA believe to constitute “campus anti-Semitism”. While the piece was written in 2014, it has resurfaced on the front page of Political Research Associates, implying that the piece has been posted to double-down on JVP’s attack on Weir. Sunshine’s attack on Weir is tagged on to the end of the report, so it is worth discussing the report in full.

The Report

The report is largely stacked. From its beginnings, it appears that Berlet relies heavily on pro-Israel advocacy groups and Zionist ideologues to construct varying definitions of anti-Semitism, including  Hillel, the Anti-Defamation League, and the like. The report also spends much ink analyzing the varying and arbitrary definitions of anti-Semitism supplied by Israeli Minister for Diaspora Affairs Natan Sharansky. While the report is quick to point out dissenting sentiments, the underlying assumptions of these organizations’ views largely color the rest of the report’s conclusions, in which anti-Semitism is defined in such a way as to include various forms of anti-Zionist and anti-Israel activism.

Elsewhere, Chip Berlet gives a lengthy interview to UK sociologist David Hirsh, who has separately written that BDS is “arguably antisemitic in itself,” and that eyewitness testimonies of disgust with Israel’s massacre in Gaza or John Mearsheimer’s comments about the Israel lobby are “reminiscent of classic antisemitic blood libels or conspiracy theory”. Hirsh has written, “…if you organize an academic boycott of Israeli Jewish academics but no one else in the world, that is an anti-Semitic policy”. In his interview with Berlet, Hirsh argues that Nazi analogies made by campaigners against Israel are motivated solely by “Jew-baiting,” ignoring of course that there is a subversive element to reclaiming the Holocaust from a state which has never ceased to exploit its memory.

Hirsh, like Berlet and Sunshine, are often quick to emphasize that anti-Semitism does not necessarily require intent. Instead, they emphasize that anti-Semitism, like other forms of racism, can be institutional. The concept of institutional racism can be useful. The basic gist of institutional racism is “the collective failure of an organization to provide an appropriate and professional service to people because of their color, culture, or ethnic origin”. This idea is useful in particular interventions dealing with racism, in which discrimination is system-wide and it may be difficult or impossible to single out an individual’s personal prejudices.

But with so much discussion of institutional racism, none of the individuals in the report carry out any institutional analysis regarding discrimination against Jews at all. Indeed, those who have done so have found that Jews in the United States and Western Europe do not suffer institutional discrimination, but rather have the qualities and traits of the country’s most elite ethnic groups.

Instead, the three individuals have separately and concurrently misused this conception of institutional racism to engineer definitions of anti-Semitism that are vast, vague, and, overall, useless for anti-racist organizers and dangerous for Palestinian rights campaigners.

In the report itself, Berlet argues that any form of “othering” and conspiratorial or populist rhetoric, even when unrelated to Jews or Israel, is potentially anti-Semitic or dangerous to Jews. While the report contains many such examples, one running theme is that virtually any opposition to Israel that involves populistic rhetoric about Israeli power is conflated with anti-Jewish canards. Failing to look at historic, European anti-Semitism within any historical context, the authors instead conflate any discussion of Israeli political power in completely different contexts with canards about Jewish power from different times and places in a completely ahistorical fashion.

After smearing Alison Weir, Norman Finkelstein, and others alongside the likes of notorious racist and Islamophobe David Horowitz, the report closes with interviews with individuals praised for “challenging bias,” including, surely enough, a Hillel leader. But perhaps more troubling is the praise the report reaps on Temple student April Rosenblum, responsible for an anti-Palestinian propaganda pamphlet circulated on the left. The pamphlet, “The Past Didn’t Go Anywhere,” is appropriately titled, given that the pamphlet is devoid of any historical grounding. The pamphlet repeats the sophistry of the report, in which various incidents, commentaries, and the like revolving around Jews or anti-Semitism in separate parts of the world are knitted together as a sort of international anti-Semitism, which is apparently to be found any time anyone uses strong rhetoric against Israel. The pamphlet suggests that activists avoid suggesting that Zionism is racism, and that various kinds of strongly-worded or exaggerated criticisms of Israel are anti-Semitic. In order to give it credibility, the pamphlet is littered with cheap activist sloganeering and lip-service concerns about Palestinians.

In a separate, hour-long rant that Sunshine gave in Portland, in which he also attacked Weir, Sunshine elaborates on the rhetorical scheme found in the PRA report. Sunshine defines a vast array of varying types of commentary as anti-Semitic in nature, many of which are unrelated to Jews or Israel, including populistic rhetoric against financial capitalism, any sort of rhetoric about national self-interest in light of foreign lobbying, and the like. He suggests that anti-Semitism is a sort of exceptional racism, and as a result, he constructs it in such a way that it can be found virtually anywhere.

Bizarrely, Sunshine believes that referring to the Israeli consulate “the Zionist consulate” is anti-Semitic, that condemning normalization with Israel is anti-Semitic, that refusing to see Israel’s settler population as victims of anti-Semitism is anti-Semitic, that using the image of a “snake” in anti-Israel writing is anti-Semitic even when the artists’ intention was not anti-Semitic and the symbol shares no genealogy with anti-Semitic symbolism of the past, and so on. Sunshine manages to see anti-Semitism in condemnations of Zionism as a form of imperialism, and the like. He also cites fringe Marxist theorist Moishe Postone, the intellectual influence of the right-wing, anti-Palestinian and pro-war Anti-Germans tendency in Germany.

In tandem, it appears that Sunshine, like Berlet, have little expert knowledge of the Middle East itself.  At one point, Sunshine falsely repeats the cheap Western misconception that there “always has been” a conflict between Arabs and Jews, and that the veneer of anti-Semitism has been laid over the situation. Elsewhere, he suggests falsely that Israel did not invade Lebanon until the end of that country’s civil war; in reality, Israel occupied Lebanon for most of that country’s civil war and continued for ten years thereafter.

There is a running theme behind the rhetoric that Berlet, Sunshine, and other left-liberals who churn out witch-hunting propaganda about anti-Semitism. While managing to construct anti-Semitism as an ever-present, grossly exaggerated, abstract threat, found in various kinds of rhetoric and symbols, violence and inequality against Palestinians, Arabs and Muslims are downplayed, misunderstood, or ignored, and attempts to address the institutions responsible are themselves reduced to part of the abstract specter of attacks on Jews.

The effect of this rhetoric is to whitewash one of the most blatant inequalities on the face of the earth, in which the Middle East’s foremost military power, armed with nuclear weapons, carrying on a decades-long protracted war of aggression against people under occupation, with the one-sided support of the world’s primary superpower, using blatant racism, is downplayed, and various forms opposition to this extreme situation are presented as toxic and threatening.

Attacking Weir

It is from this context that Sunshine has written a separate hit-piece on Weir. Sunshine has no problem citing rabidly anti-Palestinian propaganda organizations like CAMERA, which he writes off as a “watchdog group,” in order to condemn Weir. Sunshine also accuses Weir of promoting a blood libel by reporting on accusations of organ-harvesting by Israeli troops — a disturbing but real phenomenon in places of armed conflict. Sunshine also finds fault with Weir’s suggestion that Israel has started all of its wars except one [aside: she is correct].

To add to this, Weir has separately responded to my questioning by forwarding me a copy of the “interview” Sunshine carried out with Weir. Many of the questions are loaded, accusing Weir of suggesting that “the Zionists pushed the US into WWI and WWII”. Sunshine also suggests that Weir’s commentary about links between US reporters and Israel are an attack on those reporters’ families and Jewish identity. He attempts to bait Weir into describing Zionists as parasites, and to describe the organ-harvesting scandal as a Jewish ritual.

Sunshine makes it clear that his primary knowledge about the region is based on Zionist historiography. He chastises Weir for not making it clear that Arabs rejected the 1947 UN partition plan, a plan which would have in fact resulted in the ethnic cleansing of hundreds of thousands of Palestinians. He is doubtful that Israel attacked the USS Liberty on purpose, citing a lack of motive and ignoring the overwhelming evidence to the contrary. He also appears to believe, despite several decades of scholarship on the subject, that the early Zionists were concerned about the Holocaust when in reality many in their ranks took highly irresponsible positions with regards to the genocide in Europe.

The gist of Sunshine’s problem is as follows: “IAK’s criticisms of Zionism and Israel dovetail with traditional antisemitic narratives…IAK narratives are consistent with the antisemitic conspiracisms of the past century, including the claims that Jews are clannish and cabal-like, have dual loyalties, control the media and the government, steal the body parts of non-Jews, and start wars…”

None of these claims are accurate. Instead, Weir has consistently targeted Israel and its supporters. But due to the Sunshine’s ideologically-motived, ahistoric association of European anti-Semitism with anti-Zionism, he manages to find blood libels, canards, and conspiracisms where virtually all of IAK’s commentary has targeted Israel’s state-sanctioned racism against its victims and the behavior of American institutions and communities in providing impunity.

It would be difficult to take Sunshine seriously if one were to see Palestinians as people. If that were the case, it would not be a surprise that Israel’s racist state institutions, its undue levels of support in the United States, its lobbying efforts, or continued racist support for Israel by Jewish community organizations, would come under fire from campaigners. But having refocused his attention on the alleged threats to the community associated with Israel’s campaign of colonization (i.e. Jews), Sunshine, like Berlet, is able to reduce anti-Zionist and anti-Israel rhetoric to canards from completely different time periods with no historical or institutional analysis whatsoever. Mired with dishonest questioning, cheap reductionism, and poor knowledge of the Middle East, the report as a whole, and Sunshine’s comments in particular, amount to sophistry.

76 Comments

  1. Why are you defending an Antisemitic crackpot?

    Comment by Gregory A. Butler (@GREGORYABUTLER) — June 25, 2015 @ 10:56 pm

  2. Could you elaborate?

    Comment by louisproyect — June 25, 2015 @ 10:57 pm

  3. Commenter No. 1: Why are you promoting a case of guilt by association against Allison Weir? The movement for human rights for Palestinians is only harmed by whispering campaigns based on easily discredited sources. Is that what you (and JVP?) are looking for?

    Comment by ralphiesmom — June 27, 2015 @ 10:24 pm

  4. Odd that this rant relies so much on statements by Noam Chomsky when Chomsky himself is on JVP’s advisory board: https://jewishvoiceforpeace.org/content/advisory-board

    And isn’t the truth about Israeli state atrocities bad enough without Weir making up stories about Israel harvesting the internal organs of Palestinians? Isn’t this just a little too close for comfort to the Blood Libel? How is this not obvious?

    If anything, JVP’s disassociation with Weir is overdue.

    Comment by Jason Schulman — June 27, 2015 @ 11:59 pm

  5. Frankly I don’t care if JVP drops or continues their association with Weir but the Huffington Post and the Guardian reported on the body parts for sale controversy at the time. All Weir was doing is passing along information that was being reported elsewhere by media outlets that by no stretch of the imagination are anti-Semitic. I haven’t spent too much time on her website but any resemblance between it and Israel Shamir or Gilad Atzmon is purely coincidental.

    Comment by louisproyect — June 28, 2015 @ 12:08 am

  6. This Counterpunch article ( http://www.counterpunch.org/2009/08/28/israeli-organ-harvesting/ ) by Alison Weir did not simply pass on the kernel of truth regarding the Israel’s organ harvesting story, ie, that Israel did harvest the organs of the dead. She asserted as did Bostrom ( http://www.aftonbladet.se/kultur/article11973850.ab ) that Israel was killing people to order so as to harvest the organs. Bostrom subsequently denied arguing the killing to order line but the article makes it clear he did. Bostrom didn’t go quite as far as Weir, In her article she links the body organ scandal to the allegation that Jews killed Christians in medieval times as part of some ritual. I’m fairly certain that neither HuffPo nor the Guardian went in for the hunting down Palestinians so as to harvest organs angle or for the linkage with medieval allegations of Jewish ritual killings. By the way, In her Counterpunch article she links to an Israel Shamir article titled “The Return of the Body Snatchers”.

    Further, the article that you have hosted here does not simply say that Alison Weir has been unfairly accused of antisemitism, it argues that JVP has only made its accusation because of their own problematic identity politics (ie they’re Jewish). In putting his argument together your guest has indulged in the most ludicrous of nitpicking regarding the words of JVP (eg “may not” becomes not “might not” but “must not” or “barred from”) whilst subjecting the work of Alison Weir to no scrutiny at all. Her own professed brand of nationalism is glossed over, her leadership of a group called the Council for the National Interest warrants no mention at all.

    The hosted article is problematic in other ways too. It’s ridiculously and unnecessarily long for a start and it engages in bogus logic and wildly inappropriate analogies. Whether Alison Weir has been falsely accused or not, a letter to her and a statement about her is hardly reminiscent of a COINTELPRO operation no matter what the letter and statement said. The list of complaints of false allegations of antisemitism by various respected authors does not mean that all allegations of antisemitism are false. The list is an extended non sequitur, nothing more. Similarly, if zionist detractors of Weir mix condemnation of the things she gets right with the things she gets wrong this just shows that they can be as slippery as she is, not that she is always right or that she is not antisemitic.

    Frankly I was surprised at JVP only mentioning the ragbag of racists that Weir freely associates with and uncritically accompanies. They would have done better if they had quoted the Counterpunch article but clearly both you, Louis, and the author of the above post are aware of the Counterpunch article and even though it links to Israel Shamir you, Louis, claim that any similarity between Weir and Shamir is “purely coincidental.

    I just don’t understand why you’ve posted this article at all. If you think Alison Weir has been unfairly accused you could have defended her yourself in a much shorter and more straightforward way that could be discussed without all the ducking and diving that your guest has engaged in.

    Comment by levi9909 — June 28, 2015 @ 8:09 am

  7. In her article she links the body organ scandal to the allegation that Jews killed Christians in medieval times as part of some ritual.

    Actually, she did nothing of the sort. She was referring instead to the pressure that was applied on a prestigious Jewish scholar to censor himself when he claimed that there were isolated incidents of revenge killings in the Medieval period. Frankly, I am in no position to judge his scholarship but I doubt that he was an anti-Semite.

    full: http://www.counterpunch.org/2009/08/28/israeli-organ-harvesting/

    Comment by louisproyect — June 28, 2015 @ 12:28 pm

  8. I already linked to the CP article so you didn’t have to. Weir is clearly not simply demonstrating that an author was forced by lobbyists to self-censor, this happens all the time. There are thousands of examples. Weir chose an example of someone claiming that Jews in medieval times carried out ritual murders of Christians. And she said this just after where she quotes from and links to Israel Shamir.

    Here’s a slice:

    In an interview with an Italian newspaper (the book was published in Italy), Toaff says:

    “My research shows that in the Middle Ages, a group of fundamentalist Jews did not respect the biblical prohibition and used blood for healing. It is just one group of Jews, who belonged to the communities that suffered the severest persecution during the Crusades. From this trauma came a passion for revenge that in some cases led to responses, among them ritual murder of Christian children.” (25)

    (Incidentally, an earlier book containing similar findings was published some years ago also by an Israeli professor, Israel Shahak

    Of course she was lying about Shahak. He made no such claim and elsewhere she did actually retract that claim. But if she was simply referring to pressure to self-censor, why didn’t she make the same claim about Shahak? The fact that is plain for all to see is that she was linking the allegation of Jews killing Christian children for ritual purposes to the allegations made by Bostrom in his article that Israel kills people to acquire their organs.

    I’m glad you’ve stopped digging re the other lies about Huffpo and the Guardian supporting Bostrom’s central thesis and it was smart of you to ignore Weir’s promotion of Israel Shamir and her misrepresentation of Israel Shahak . Nor was there any need for you to rake over ludicrous analogies like comparing a letter and statement from JVP to COINTELPRO operations that ruined and took people’s lives. And why get into a tedious list of non sequiturs a la your guest? You’re right to cut to the chase, Louis. It’s just the one criticism that you’ve risen to is a sound criticism. Alison Weir promoted the idea that Jews used to ritually kill children in medieval times as part of an article about Israel killing people specifically to take their organs.

    I must point out that the reason genuine anti-racists took exception to Bostrom’s article is that we believe that The State of Israel is bad enough without making things up and anything that smacks of an alternative form of racism to zionism is considered a setback to overcoming the zionist enemy. The trouble with antisemites is they don’t see zionists as an enemy but an excuse to promote their own brand of racism.

    But anyway, after all this making of yourself a liar and a fool, Louis, the question remains, why did you post this ludicrous article? Really, I’d like to know and that was the first question you were asked here.

    Comment by levi9909 — June 28, 2015 @ 11:56 pm

  9. There are thousands of examples.

    Really? Then why is this the one that keeps getting dredged up?

    Comment by louisproyect — June 29, 2015 @ 12:01 am

  10. Unbelievable, another dodge.

    It doesn’t get keep getting dredged up. It was mentioned in passing by Alison Weir and then revisited by your guest and then by you. You and your guest dredged it up to try to make out that that was the sole reason for introducing the idea of Jews ritually killing Christians in medieval times. Alison Weir didn’t do it for that reason or she wouldn’t have said, wrongly, that Israel Shahak supported the thesis and yet he wasn’t pressured into self-censorship.

    Anyway back to the question you keep dodging. Try not to distract yourself.

    Why did you post a ludicrous article defending a racist? You’ve no more integrity to shed now Louis. You might as well try an honest answer since all else has failed.

    Comment by levi9909 — June 29, 2015 @ 12:38 am

  11. The claims she made about Shahak are untrue and he, in fact said literally the opposite, as Adam Holland has documented here. http://adamholland.blogspot.ca/2009/09/blood-libel-promoted-by-counterpunch.html – No one is “dredging” anyone up, we are simply responding to your stroppy defence of a white supremacist and her protagonist whose writings are mysteriously being promoted by you. Bottom line here, JVP refused to associate themselves with a well known anti semite. Why did you post this filth and why do you continue to avoid answering why?

    Comment by Karen (@kazahann) — June 29, 2015 @ 1:14 am

  12. You’ve no more integrity to shed now Louis

    You are a fucking joke. I get 5 hate mails a week calling me a ZioNazi or a CIA agent. Do you honestly think I give a shit what you say?

    Comment by louisproyect — June 29, 2015 @ 1:48 am

  13. You people are ridiculous. I am on the editorial board of CounterPunch magazine and write a weekly article, usually on film, for the website. This is a publication that features the work of Israel Shamir and Gilad Atzmon. It doesn’t matter to me that they are far worse than Weir. Frankly, your obsession with Weir is all out of proportion to the influence she has. I never heard of her before Amith Gupta asked me if he could post his article here. I have known Amith for the better part of a decade and I am proud to be his comrade. You people are nothing but trolls as far as I am concerned and not worth my time in preparing a reply. It is really Amith you need to have a quarrel with, not me. Maybe you can go picket him at the NYU law school. But for me, there is little incentive in answering you in the way that you expect. I have better things to do with my time.

    Comment by louisproyect — June 29, 2015 @ 3:08 am

  14. You people are ridiculous. I am on the editorial board of CounterPunch magazine and write a weekly article, usually on film, for the website. This is a publication that features the work of Israel Shamir and Gilad Atzmon. It doesn’t matter to me that they are far worse than Weir. Frankly, your obsession with Weir is all out of proportion to the influence she has. I never heard of her before Amith Gupta asked me if he could post his article here. I have known Amith for the better part of a decade and I am proud to be his comrade. You people are nothing but trolls as far as I am concerned and not worth my time in preparing a reply. It is really Amith you need to have a quarrel with, not me. Maybe you can go picket him at the NYU law school. But for me, there is little incentive in answering you in the way that you expect. I have better things to do with my time.

    Comment by louisproyect — June 29, 2015 @ 3:08 am

  15. Louis, your first response to someone asking why you were promoting the antisemitic Alison Weir was to asked for elaboration. That was your first dodge apart from blocking anyone from asking you anything on twitter. You flipped on twitter because you claimed it didn’t give space for the elaboration you pretended to be needing and now you’re describing the elaboration that you requested as obsessive.

    I’ve followed this blog for a long time and I have never seen you stoop so low. I always thought you were one of the left’s intellectual heavyweights but your only concern here seems to be your own obsession with your own self.

    It has been amply demonstrated that the allegation that Alison Weir is antisemitic is not simply a guilt by association thing but her various associations with various repugnant racists is bad enough. But all you have done is ducked, dived and lied your way through the thread.

    You have now misdiagnosed what the potential problem of Alison Weir’s antisemitism is. It’s not that she might influence people. Even if she could convince people that Jews used to ritually kill Christians in medieval times it probably wouldn’t affect how people perceive or behave towards Jews today. No, the harm antisemitism does is not to Jews but to the Palestinian cause because it undermines the Palestine solidarity movement simply by turning people off.

    But I think you have finally answered the question about why you published such a worse than useless article. You like the author on a personal level so you suffered a lapse. But now you’ve lost all credibility.

    Sorry, that’s not entirely fair. It was thanks to your recommendation that I downloaded and watched How to train your dragon. Stick to that sort of thing Louis.

    Comment by levi9909 — June 29, 2015 @ 8:54 am

  16. First of all, you need to find some principled friends & second of all, given you’ve hosted this filth, we *are* ‘taking it up” with him…and you by extension. But yes, please continue to boost your brand by exploiting Palestinians & their movement. Laughably, you smear others of anti semitism which people take seriously, yet when your promotional campaign is pointed out, you dodge, evade & of course employ your trademark smear & abuse tactics.

    Comment by Karen (@kazahann) — June 29, 2015 @ 10:57 am

  17. But now you’ve lost all credibility.

    Bye. Shut the door on your way out.

    Comment by louisproyect — June 29, 2015 @ 12:29 pm

  18. employ your trademark smear & abuse tactics.

    Bye.

    Comment by louisproyect — June 29, 2015 @ 12:30 pm

  19. http://palestinechronicle.com/old/view_article_details.php?id=15781
    I don’t have the energy to go follow all these issues regarding Weir. My position has been that opposing the Israel Lobby is not the same as supporting the Palestinians. See the above link from many years ago. My impression regarding Weir, including having personally met and listened to her, is that my concerns apply to her; she goes a fatal step beyond where even the “Mondoweiss crazies” (as Norman Finkelstein calls them) are willing to go, or where the moderators allow them to go. In this regard both JVP and Electronic Intifada have rightly distanced themselves from the Shamir/Atzmon/Weir axis. As a member of JVP and past contributor to both Mondoweiss and EI, I think they’re making the right call. It’s important for the Palestinian rights movement to separate itself from the notion of “American interests” and that is understood by the “realist” school, to which Weir belongs, so far as I can tell.

    Comment by David Green — June 29, 2015 @ 6:27 pm

  20. That’s a very good post David. I’m sure that would have been Louis’s own position not so long ago. Meanwhile we can’t even get an answer as to why he hosted a post defending an antisemitic “national interest” obsessive.

    Comment by levi9909 — June 30, 2015 @ 1:02 am

  21. Gupta is from a family of immigrants of color, and he is hardly driven by intolerance in writing his article. JVP’s letter denounces Weir basically for appearing on the same two radio programs that the Corries, Pappe, and Lowenstein have. Whether one endorses those persons’ decision to appear on those programs (and I understand the concern), is it correct to censor someone only because she did so instead of censoring her for something that she actually said? After all, Weir has also appeared on strongly right wing pro-Israeli programs.

    This is not to get into anything else that Weir may or may not have written, but whether there was enough grounds to totally censor her. And the problem here is guilt by association. A leading Solidarity activist Colonel Ann Wright for example was censored for only associating herself with Greta Berlin, whose own misdeed was tweeting another blogger’s offensive clip. (See: Free Gaza’s Col. Ann Wright disinvited from Swedish Boat to Gaza, http://mondoweiss.net/2012/10/free-gazas-col-ann-wright-disinvited-from-swedish-boat-to-gaza)

    So the key issue I think that Amith is bringing up is the problem of banning people merely for guilt by association, like Weir for being on the same radio program that Solidarity activists like the Corries have been on, and Colonel Wright for merely being associated with Greta.

    If Weir did write genuinely racist articles elsewhere, then like Levi said, JVP should have mentioned them in its letter instead of using guilt by association. So thank you Louis for posting Gupta’s article and allowing room for discussion on this issue.

    Comment by Raccko (@racckoff) — June 30, 2015 @ 2:25 am

  22. I meant: “This is not to get into anything else that Weir may or may not have written, but whether there was enough grounds _given in JVP’s letter_ to totally censor her.”

    Comment by Raccko (@racckoff) — June 30, 2015 @ 2:49 am

  23. There are enormously complicated issues and agendas and bedfellows around the issue of Palestine, from the attack on the Liberty to the death of Rachel Corrie. They often don’t make for a clear analysis of the problem from a leftist perspective. I don’t support JVP from a “Jewish values” (whatever that might mean) perspective, but rather from a desire to join with other leftist Jews who understand the situation along colonialist/imperialist/class lines–while consistently opposing USFP, and as a respectful part of the larger Palestinian solidarity movement. I don’t mind a little rabbinical sanctimoniousness about tikkun olam, but I trust JVP (so far, including regarding Weir) to have a sensible material/strategic analysis. They have filled an important vacuum, and have contributed constructively to the growth of SJP/BDS. I do generally agree with the original post, however, that Chip Berlet is a silly, silly man. I had managed not to think of him for a really long time until today; thanks a lot.

    Comment by David Green — June 30, 2015 @ 3:20 am

  24. Raccko, there’s not a whole lot to add here but you seem to be confusing the word censure with the word censor. Either that or you have decided to redefine the word censor.

    David Green, I agree with you about Berlet. Also, I had never seen that Sunshine guy before. It’s true what Gupta says here. He complains about the things Weir gets right and completely misses what she gets wrong (except of course neither Louis nor Gupta acknowledge what she does wrong). I don’t know if, like Gupta and Louis, he does that deliberately and dishonestly, or if he’s just clueless.

    Comment by levi9909 — June 30, 2015 @ 7:43 am

  25. The idea that other people have an obligation to work with you, even if they consider your politics unacceptable, betrays an incredible sense of entitlement. Alison Weir was not “censored”. She was not “persecuted”, she was not “COINTELPRO”d, she wasn’t even “found guilty”, not by association and not at all. She was just not given a platform she thinks she deserves and was not invited to some meetings she thinks are dull without her colorful presence. People in the US sit for life in jail for their political opinions, especially when it intersects with their skin color or accent. That’s persecution and censorship. But that never happens to white people who peddle conspiracy theories about Jews in lieu of historical explanations, so Alison Weir can sleep safely knowing she will, in fact, never face persecution, and her defenders can relax. She is really in no imminent danger.

    JVP, which has certainly many faults, is a political organization that does not want to work with antisemites, white supremacists, and probably also those who you just can’t figure out exactly where they stand, because they hide beneath weasel words such as calling Gilad Atzmon (who thinks the holocaust was understandable German payback for Jewish misbehavior) an “alleged” antisemite. It looks to me that JVP went out of its way to avoid saying what everyone with a mind who reads Alison Weir’s book would conclude, that she is a right-wing crank who thinks that if you qualify an antisemitic conspiracy theory with “maybe” and “some” and “it could be that” than it stops being antisemitic. Obviously, JVP’s tact is lost on those who want to mainstream white supremacy by calling its “populism” as if there was no difference between PODEMOS and the KKK.

    Here’s a thought for you. If you talk like a white supremacist, defend white supremacists, collaborate with white supremacists, peddle white supremacist conspiracy theories, and publish white supremacist drivel on your blog or in your journal, it is the right thing to treat for all intent and purpose like a white supremacist, even if your insist you aren’t, and even if your skin color is dark, and even if in your youth you smoked cigars with Che and Fidel.

    You can call it guilt by association if you like.

    Comment by evildoer — June 30, 2015 @ 11:02 am

  26. plus Amith Gupta, despite being a law professor, has trouble parsing simple English sentences:

    Gupta: JVP even goes further to bar its chapters from working with groups that use “anti-Zionist slogans or demands”:

    Example of JVP working in coalition with groups that use anti-Zionist slogans http://endtheoccupation.org/article.php?id=4486

    So, smear? the only person guilty of smearing an organization in an unprincipled way here is Gupta.

    Comment by evildoer — June 30, 2015 @ 4:14 pm

  27. There is a definite tactic by the Zionists and Pro war liberals of guilt by association, of pouring over every last sentence to see if anything can be extracted in order to defame the individual and of no platforming people who have spent a lifetime in opposition to racism but take an anti imperialist position.

    When their tactic actually exposes someone who is politically dodgy, then .this is just an example of the stopped clock being correct twice a day.

    Some activists for the Palestinian cause are too acquiescent to these pressures.

    If having some slightly dodgy people on our side is a problem why isn’t openly supporting a racists and terrorist state a major problem for them!?

    The answer comes back to Western Chauvinism and the power of the ideas of the ruling class.

    Comment by Simon Provertier — June 30, 2015 @ 4:29 pm

  28. Simon, could you sort out your coherence issues, name some names, specify some specifics and get back to us?

    Evildoer – sure this Gupta does a fine line in misrepresentation but I don’t think he’s passed himself of as a professor just yet. He’s a student….with a lot to learn.

    Comment by levi9909 — June 30, 2015 @ 10:18 pm

  29. There are many many examples of the attempted defamation of people who take an anti imperialist stance, for an example do a brief internet search for George Galloway and it won’t take you too long to find the evidence.

    And if you come back and say you couldn’t find anything then I have to ask what search engine you have been using. Though is just the tip of the iceberg. There isn’t a week goes by that some pro war leftist site claims so and so is a anti Semitic racist and you are required to take their word for it. then some other person brings up evidence to say the claim of racism was stretching the truth to the limit and you shake your head at the dishonesty of it all.

    Though if you are unaware of this and claim to be on the Palestinian side of the cause then you need to sort out your perception issues.

    And as I said, if having some slightly dodgy people on our side is a problem why isn’t openly supporting a racists and terrorist state a major problem for them!?

    Could you answer that question Levi?

    Comment by Simon Provertier — July 1, 2015 @ 4:34 pm

  30. Simon, aren’t you banned from Mondoweiss?

    Comment by David Green — July 1, 2015 @ 4:45 pm

  31. Just to assist you some more, you could also try Seamus Milne or Lauren Booth and in one case the Green party was accused of being anti Semitic.

    Actually, it is also common for the pro war pro Zionist liberal left to label anti imperialist organisations as anti Semitic and they try to find any link between a dodgy individual and an organisation to prove the organisation is racist and beyond the pale.

    The tactic is so obvious you would have to be either stupid or dishonest to deny its existence. Which are you Levi?

    Comment by Simon Provertier — July 1, 2015 @ 4:50 pm

  32. “Simon, aren’t you banned from Mondoweiss?”

    The answer is no to that question.

    Comment by Simon Provertier — July 1, 2015 @ 4:54 pm

  33. Simon, I asked you to name names and specify specifics to see if you were engaging with the thread or inventing a beef. The latter was the case. I don’t think you read either the whole post or the thread that followed it.

    What seems to have happened here is that Louis has hosted a post without reading it properly or he would have realised that it was a defence of an antisemite and a call for constructive engagement with various white supremacists albeit by a non-white person. It was only after he had posted it that he realised his mistake so he pulled it. I emailed him to tell him it was still on marxmail and that since he had deleted it from here he might like to delete it from there. At that point I only wanted to spare Louis embarrassment but he seems then to have decided that it was better to repost it here and pretend to believe there was nothing wrong with it and then lie several times to defend both Alison Weir and Amith Gupta.

    But my advice to you Simon, is to read the whole post – I know it’s excruciating, the pretentiousness alone is embarrassing, I mean an “addendum” to an already overlong piece. Wtf? Then read the thread. Then if you have issues with something that has actually been said tell us who said what and what precisely your issues are with whoever said whatever. That’s the best way to go, If all you can do is make shit up as you go along then a quick read of the thread will show you that Louis is quite capable of that all on his own.

    Louis, I’m curious, Have you asked Amith Gupta to stay away because he’d only embarrass you more? It’s just strange that when I sent you my email you forwarded it to him and his response was almost immediate and yet he has left you to swirl in his cesspool alone. What’s all that about? Just asking.

    Comment by levi9909 — July 2, 2015 @ 2:22 am

  34. Just asking.

    Shove it up your ass.

    Comment by louisproyect — July 2, 2015 @ 2:39 am

  35. Honestly Louis, I’m asking about your comrade Amith, you know, the one who doesn’t hold a candle for Alison Weir but who knows what she is thinking when she includes allegations that Jews ritually murdered Christians in medieval times in an article about Israel hunting people down so as to kill them for their organs. You know, the one who didn’t mention her quoting with approval Israel Shamir who you have described as antisemitic. You know, the one who calls Gilad Atzmon an *alleged* antisemite, unlike you who doesn’t tip-toe around such an obvious case. You know, the one who forgot to mention that Weir also tried to co-opt the late Israel Shahak into her linkage of Jewish ritual murders in medieval times with Israel not simply harvesting the organs of the dead but making people be dead so as to harvest their organs. What happened to comrade Amith who you said you are proud of. Is he not so proud of you? Has he seen some of your own criticisms of antisemitism and seen himself in the target.

    Really, I’m curious to know why Gupta hasn’t appeared to defend his own post.. But I’m more curious to know what happened to you, Louis?

    Comment by levi9909 — July 2, 2015 @ 3:03 am

  36. Louis, I generally, agree with what you wrote in your comments here.

    David, I understand what you mean about not supporting a religious values perspective, and I would agree that an international socialist group would ideally be above competing religious or national interests. I do think that JVP’s religious values view and a “national interest” perspective, which Weir claims to have, are both at least legitimate views for groups to hold.

    Levi, you are right, I meant to say “censure”.

    Simon, thanks for your comment. The main problem is, as Amith said, the JVP letter relies on guilt by association with the same radio programs that the Corries, Pappe, and Lowenstein have been on, rather than laying out any actual racist things that Weir even allegedly said. So it sets the bar low on censuring and shunning other Solidarity activists as racists. Another example of this “guilt by association” is the case of Colonel Wright, who I mentioned was banned from a humanitarian supply boat merely because of her association with Greta Berlin, whose own misdeed was tweeting an offensive clip, which Greta claimed was an accident and apologized. The major risk is that anti-racist human rights activists who have never actually endorsed racist ideas could be denounced as racists only for some temporary past association with someone else who appears intolerant.

    Comment by Raccko (@racckoff) — July 2, 2015 @ 3:59 am

  37. Raccko, that’s an interesting pretence at reasonableness but it’s no more honest than the original post or Louis’s or Simon’s comments.

    You might like the fact that Louis has lied and thrown some insults around but you cannot actually agree with him. He’s lied about the content of the Weir article in Counterpunch and the Bostrom article that preceded it. Bostrom argued that Israel was targeting Palestinians to kill them for their body organs. Louis said that his thesis was supported by HuffPo and the Guardian. It wasn’t. HuffPo and the Guardian and various Israeli newspapers reported that Israel had taken organs from the dead of all ethnicities but their was no evidence of targeting. Bostrom subsequently claimed that he never accused Israel of the targeting but the article makes it clear he did. Weir even links the practice of killing Palestinians for their body organs to medieval allegations of Jews killing Christians for ritual purposes. Louis again lied and said that she was merely using this as an example of zionists suppressing publications but this doesn’t tally with her quoting Israel Shamir with approval in the same article and falsely claiming that Israel Shahak had said the same sort of thing when he definitely had not. Saying you agree with Louis is like saying you agree that 2 and 2 makes 5.

    Simon has been so mealy mouthed as to make it impossible to know what he has been referring to and two requests from me have failed to elicit a straightforward reply.

    Amith Gupta didn’t say that the main problem was that JVP didn’t go into enough detail about Weir. When he was provided with more detail he simply lied about it in the same way that Louis has here and in such a long article it is impossible to believe he didn’t do any research into Weir’s writings. He chose to focus on the associations issue because it sounds better to accuse people of a guilt by association rap than it does to analyse what Alison Weir truly stands for. Regarding other people who have appeared on a racist radio program, Pappe apologised for his appearance and none of the others you and Gupta have named made “repeat and friendly” appearances. I don’t know anything about this Colonel Wright but Greta Berlin repeatedly promoted antisemitic conspiracy theories on twitter and facebook and when challenged about the tweet that led to her being denounced by Ali Abunimah her response was first to deny she had done it and then to accuse Abunimah of issuing a “fatwa” against her. Just to spell it out since you seem to need things spelt out, her response was islamophobic, ie racist.

    And of course, if Gupta is saying that that is the main problem with JVP’s refusal to associate with Weir, that hardly justifies his ludicrous COINTELPRO analogy.

    You say that “The major risk is that anti-racist human rights activists who have never actually endorsed racist ideas could be denounced as racists only for some temporary past association with someone else who appears intolerant.” This is disingenuous in the context. Alison Weir is not a human rights activist and her associations with overt racists have been repeated and on-going (not temporary and past) and of course she has expounded racist ideas of her own and endorsed those of others including Israel Shamir and Gilad Atzmon. Louis himself has denounced Shamir and Atzmon as antisemites before now but in this thread he has chosen to ignore Weir’s citing of the former altogether. It is interesting that both you and Gupta try to play down the significance of the racism of the more explicit racists. So for Gupta Gilad Atzmon is merely an alleged “anti-semite” and for you Clay Douglas is “someone else who appears intolerant”. You said you agree with Louis. I wonder if Louis agrees with your characterisations and if he’s as proud of you as he claims to be of Gupta.

    JVP calmly and privately told Alison Weir that they don’t want to associate with her. Weir went public and now she has the support of people who advocate the mainstreaming of white supremacists and antisemites using the Palestine solidarity movement for a leg-up. I have no idea why Louis hosted such garbage but no amount of lying by him or by his new friends is going to improve on or explain away such a bogus article.

    Louis, I notice you haven’t tagged this post as being about antisemitism or racism. Are you hoping that once it’s off your home page it will be forgotten? Are you trying to avoid it being read together with some of your denunciations of what Gupta would call alleged antisemitism? It’s a curious omission by you but then you’ve behaved strangely throughout this COINTELPRO type saga..

    Anyway, I’ll leave you all to troll the serious honest commentary further up the thread.

    Comment by levi9909 — July 2, 2015 @ 8:44 am

  38. Levi,

    But you are being dishonest if you do not recognise the fact that anti imperialists are regularly defamed by the pro war leftsists and Zionist apologists. And the nature of this defamation is usually a variation of the 6 degrees of Kevin Bacon, this person linked to an article by this person who once was at the same conference as this person, who once shared a platform with this person who once spoke to Kevin Bacon’s grandmother.

    Why are we even engaged in this self cleansing exercise? Lets start asking the question why if having some slightly dodgy people on our side is a problem why isn’t openly supporting a racist and terrorist state a major problem for them!?

    care to answer that one?

    Comment by Simon Provertier — July 2, 2015 @ 4:14 pm

  39. Incidentally, the entire Palestinian Solidarity movement was pronounced anti Semitic by elements of the French left because certain individuals were engaged in slightly over emotional forms of demonstrations during the Israeli assault on Gaza. My reaction was, so what. You lot are supporting brutal and murderous oppression by a state built on racist and terrorist principles. If you have no problem expressing that in public why should we have a problem!!

    Comment by Simon Provertier — July 2, 2015 @ 4:36 pm

  40. Simon and Levi,

    Like Simon said, the danger is having a major organization like JVP denouncing Solidarity activists on insufficient basis, like guilt by association. Louis should be able to confirm from his familiarity with Socialist groups in the 1960’s that they tried to avoid banning people on mere suspicion of some charge, and the charge had to be proven. Guilt by association by merely appearing on an offensive host’s radio program to support Solidarity activism is insufficient basis to declare an activist racist, since Weir also appeared on right wing Israeli programs.

    Weir’s article about Bostrum’s article was not cited in the JVP letter to censure her, which means that JVP laid out a very low bar for denouncing activists. I think that one can find something offensive in the works of very many people who have written and spoken on Israeli issues.

    Let me give an example. Ali Abunimah denounced Greta Berlin for running a Facebook group in which some other people had made offensive comments. MJ Rosenberg denounced Ali Abunimah as racist because of the way Ali Abunimah repeatedly uses “Zionists” to describe Israelis who enforce their government’s policies. Meanwhile, MJ Rosenberg tweeted that part of the traditional Passover ritual was gross, a tweet that I consider more offensive than any of the things we’ve discussed in this comment section, because it was not even made in the context of the Israeli-Palestine situation. Of course, MJR would respond that he is perfectly free to criticize religious traditions without being seen as intolerant.

    And while Mondoweiss has denounced Greta as racist for her allegedly accidental tweet, others have said that Mondoweiss has included racist comments in its threads. So we have a long chain of people denouncing each other for guilt by association, etc., while having made at some point a possibly intolerant comment themselves.

    This is the big problem with JVP’s letter and for those who censured Col. Wright: They have used and inserted into the Solidarity community an arbitrary, dangerous, extremely low, and easily abused standard for publicly denouncing activists as alleged racists, like guilt by association.

    Comment by Raccko (@racckoff) — July 2, 2015 @ 5:34 pm

  41. Simon and Raccko, I’ve posted many times on Zionists making false allegations of antisemitism. If I didn’t mention that here that’s not dishonesty. Also if you read JVPs statement on Weir you’d know they too acknowledged there are false allegations of antisemitism. And regardless of how JVP expressed themselves Weir’s antisemitism is not just about associations. It’s about arguments she has made and people she has actively promoted.

    But some good news has arisen out of this. I said carry on trolling and you both obeyed. Now I’m telling you both to kill yourselves. But Simon before you obey my latest instruction check out my latest blog post. There’s a chunk of it about Zionists falsely accusing people of antisemitism. Louis even commented there. I’m surprised he didn’t mention it.

    Comment by Levi9909 — July 2, 2015 @ 6:31 pm

  42. “Now I’m telling you both to kill yourselves.”
    This is a very strange comment. I don’t understand where you are coming from.

    Comment by Raccko (@racckoff) — July 2, 2015 @ 7:04 pm

  43. I’ll admit that I am not totally familiar with everything Weir has written, but:
    (1) The main thing is that JVP’ letter denounced her basically for guilt by association and this kind of charge has deeply hurt Solidarity activists before like Col. Wright for associating with Greta B, whose own misdeed was a tweet she apologized for. The ease of leveling charges is dangerous.

    (2) One can go through the writings of most writers and politicians, from Ben Gurion to Netanyahu to Jimmy Carter to MJ Rosenberg to Phil Weiss to Mahmoud Abbas, who have focused for years on Israeli issues and find something that is mistaken and consequently seen as racist. So when it comes to Solidarity activists who are dedicated to a major human rights issue, shouldn’t there be a presumption of trust and a high standard for totally censuring people (eg. explicit, repeated categorical statements about a whole ethnicity)?

    (3) Other possible charges against Weir are really irrelevant to these two main problems since they were not used in setting its precedent of denouncing people. However, if we apply a strict standard, then even Weir’s article on Bostrum wasn’t explicitly intolerant, was it?

    Louis’ comment was that Weir never explicitly supported Israeli professor Toaff’s claim. In the article, she said that she discussed Toaff’s book and his detractors’ reaction to it because Bostrom was accused of the medieval libel with the same intensity that Toaff, an actual writer on the topic, was. The implication from Weir’s passage is that someone who criticizes Israeli society for the scandal Bostrom discussed risks being accused with the same intensity that someone who actually writes that way on the medieval libel does.

    This of course does not prove that Weir actually believes in the medieval libel. At most would would have to infer that since she briefly discussed Toaff’s work in the passage to prove some other point that she believes in it.

    If one has a high standard for accusing someone of racism, then this kind of inference doesn’t work. If one has a low standard for denouncing activists, like guilt by temporary association or drawing circumstantial inferences, then one could use it as an additional basis for censuring. But as you pointed out, Levi, JVP didn’t even mention this in its censuring.

    If we are just going to accuse Solidarity activists based on temporary associations and tangential inferences, then don’t we reach the same kind of hysteria that open racists have used against their opponents, but this time we are directing it against people on our own side? It’s very harmful and risky.

    Comment by Raccko (@racckoff) — July 2, 2015 @ 7:52 pm

  44. If one has a high standard for accusing someone of racism, then this kind of inference doesn’t work.

    It is in fact quite the opposite. Racism is the norm. You have to prove that you oppose it in order to join an anti-racist coalition. If you can’t, if you fumble and prevaricate and find excuses, then expect to be told to take a hike. Nobody owes you to spend the night parsing your sentences to determine your degree of “guilt”. Wear your opposition to racism on your sleeves or be gone.

    Comment by evildoer — July 3, 2015 @ 9:23 am

  45. Hello, EvilD.
    I agree that people should be against anti-semitism. However, the US only scored 9% on the ADL’s worldwide survey of antisemitism. http://global100.adl.org/#country/usa
    I question whether strong antisemitism is really seen as the norm in California where Weir is from and that Solidarity activists working on humanitarian causes should be presumed to be anti-semitic unless they “wear it on their sleeves.” Louis can probably confirm from his days in socialist organizing from the 1960’s whether other socialists from Bert Cochran to Cuban revolutionaries were presumed to be anti-semitic unless they somehow proved otherwise and wore their proof on their sleeves.
    That Amith and Ali Abunimah are people of color and that Weir has written against anti-semitism on her website are enough to presume that they aren’t racists.

    Comment by Raccko (@racckoff) — July 3, 2015 @ 7:55 pm

  46. Raccko, Louis is a lot cleverer than you and I think this Amith Gupta chap is too and yet all their lies, distortions and non sequiturs have been noticed, I don’t know what makes you think yours won’t be, Evildoer didn’t say that antisemitism is the norm, he said racism is. He has written extensively on how antisemitism is definitely not the norm. He also said further up the thread that the likes of Alison Weir and Amith Gupta are intent on mainstreaming forms and expressions of racism that are not currently mainstream, ie not the norm. His point, very clearly expressed so that even you can understand is that when someone actively promotes racists we do not assume they don’t approve of the racist’s racism. Now actually I personally could make an exception in Louis’s case. He hasn’t allowed a racist to be promoted here because he is a racist. He didn’t read the article and when he did he pulled it only to restore it when he realised it was too widely noticed for him to deny all knowledge, So Louis’s issue is his ego, not his politics. He can’t just say, “woops, my bad” like say I have done when I have erred on my blog. He had to lie about articles he has read and anyone could access in HuffPo. The Guardian and even CounterPunch and I would never lie to support an argument in a thread.

    Also you’d need to link to where Alison Weir has written against antisemitism for even Louis to pretend to believe you. He said he was proud of his guest but even he has limits. I think it will be some time before he expresses pride in or agreement with you but I wouldn’t mind being proved wrong on that one.. Louis has produced some laughs along the way here. Him agreeing with you would make for a real LOL situation.

    Re, whether or not Amith Gupta or Ali Abunimah are racists, Amith Gupta has accused JVP of “ethnic chauvinism” , ie, racism, whereas Ali Abunimah applauded JVP for deciding not to associate with Weir. Of course the skin colour of Gupta and Abunimah is completely irrelevant or they would be agreeing with each other by your own racist logic.

    Finally, I hope, where is Amith Gupta? He was very quick to respond to the private email I sent to Louis and Louis forwarded on to him. http://jewssansfrontieres.blogspot.co.uk/2015/07/louis-proyect-remains-unrepentant.html There was no discussion of his post at Marxmail, and he hasn’t appeared on the thread at the only other place where I have seen his post: https://platosguns.wordpress.com/2015/06/25/jvp-loses-its-balance-the-weir-wars-mazin-qumsiyeh/comment-page-1/ I don’t know if he tweets but several racist tweeters linked here and urged Abunimah to pay a visit.

    I think Gupta knows what Louis knows, he simply cannot support his argument. He is a lying cowardly racist. I’m guessing that the racism won’t stick to Louis but the question mark over his integrity will never go away.

    So Raccko out of killing yourself (to order) or keeping on trolling I’m guessing you’ll opt for the latter, Pity.

    Comment by levi9909 — July 4, 2015 @ 12:21 am

  47. He didn’t read the article and when he did he pulled it only to restore it when he realised it was too widely noticed for him to deny all knowledge,

    What a fucking idiot. The original version had formatting issues because Amith gave me a text file that WordPress was not able to handle the indentations, italics, etc. The second version was sent to me as a Word file attachment that had fewer problems. You people are unbelievable.

    Comment by louisproyect — July 4, 2015 @ 2:29 am

  48. “What a fucking idiot. The original version had formatting issues because Amith gave me a text file that WordPress was not able to handle the indentations, italics, etc. The second version was sent to me as a Word file attachment that had fewer problems. You people are unbelievable.”

    In other words, just so that this is preserved for posterity, Proyect is telling us that the dishonesty and racism of the article were no more a problem for him than the dishonesty and racism of so much of what gets published on CounterPunch. It was just the formatting. It would be well to remember this in case Proyect eventually realises how this all looks and decides to claim that he had initially taken the piece down for principled reasons.

    Comment by Elise Hendrick — July 4, 2015 @ 9:33 am

  49. “It was just the formatting.” No, I was replying to the idiot Levi9909 who came up with a wild interpretation that suggests how addled the Jews without Frontier clique is.

    Comment by louisproyect — July 4, 2015 @ 1:34 pm

  50. Levi,
    Thanks for clarifying that “Evildoer didn’t say that antisemitism is the norm, he said racism is. He has written extensively on how antisemitism is definitely not the norm.” This is why I believe that we should assume that Solidarity activists are not anti-semites. We should have a high standard set against labeling Solidarity activists “anti-semitic.”

    Weir wrote against anti-semitism in her article: “Choosing to Act: Anti-Semitism is Wrong” (http://www.ifamericansknew.org/cur_sit/as.html)

    This is very strange: “So Raccko out of killing yourself (to order) or keeping on trolling I’m guessing you’ll opt for the latter, Pity.” I don’t understand where you are coming from by saying this.

    Comment by Raccko (@racckoff) — July 4, 2015 @ 2:11 pm

  51. Clique?! Louis since you’ve become a parody of yourself there’s only one thing left to say – http://jewssansfrontieres.blogspot.co.uk/2015/07/louis-learns-lesson.html

    Comment by levi9909 — July 4, 2015 @ 4:06 pm

  52. You criticize Louis and Amith for failing to reply to your criticisms, but you erased my own ideas from your comment section.
    And as you know, my comment was rather simple: If we simply accuse people based on tangential inferences from their writings, then negative inferences can be drawn from the writings of most people who have written at length on the conflict.

    Take for example the JSF writings on religion:
    http://jewssansfrontieres.blogspot.co.uk/search/label/Judaism

    In one article you imply that you oppose imposing circumcision when the parents are divided on the question. One could infer that you consider this key religious practice harmful. In a second article, you object to the BBC canceling a program that puts into question the factuality of the Exile, what your passage describes as a key theological component. You headed your post “Zionists making presence felt at BBC?”, suggesting that “Zionists” were using their influence to defend their religion.

    These examples show the risk with using a low standard of tangential inferences for testing people for anti-semitism. One could read your posts on those topics and conclude on such a tangential basis that you are implying your opposition to the religion and culture. Naturally, your would correctly respond that you are free to criticize religion and culture and that you were not intending those inferences.

    Likewise, Weir can make the same objections that, like Louis said, she never actually said that she believed in the medieval libel. All she did was discuss an Israeli professor’s book on it to illustrate a different point- that Bostrom’s critics had the same reaction against Bostrom’s article on the modern Israeli scandal as they did against someone who actually wrote about the medieval libel. This of course does not mean that she actually believes in the medieval libel, and it requires using the low standard of tangential inferences to claim that she does.

    This should better illustrate the problem with denouncing people based on guilt by association and tangential inferences, wouldn’t you say?

    Comment by Raccko (@racckoff) — July 4, 2015 @ 9:04 pm

  53. I blocked you from my blog because you’re an obvious troll who I doubt even Louis would claim to be proud of though nothing would surprise from Louis now unless he simply said, woops I’ve made a mistake and I shouldn’t have tried to lie and insult my way out of my responsibility for hosting a bogus post. I can’t remember what I said about Amith Gupta but he is so dishonest I don’t care if I never hear from him again so I am guessing I merely expressed surprise at him not contributing to the threads where his piece appeared since he responded quickly enough to my email which I didn’t even send to him. Re, Louis, he hasn’t refused to respond. He has lied, prevaricated, obfuscated and thrown insults around. Meanwhile, it is hard to understand why someone who takes himself as seriously as Louis does has run a post of such obvious drivel. Several people have now asked him what the fuck he was playing at and he hasn’t said.

    Louis definitely wants to be taken seriously by socialists though whereas Amith Gupta wants to be taken seriously by fascists. Louis once contributed to the Socialist Unity site and thought they were blocking him so he made the same point with a different name and it got through. He then very publicly denounced them and I contacted them to ask why they were blocking him, It turned out that it was a technical glitch and so Louis apologised. Big of him huh? Except having kicked up such a self-important song and dance in his own name about them blocking him he only apologised in the fake name. Again, I thought it was an aberration but he, like you, is a no-go area for integrity.

    Whatever I’ve said about zionism and Judaism, I have never confused the two so I doubt if I ever referenced the religion of Zionists unless it was relevant. And really we don’t need to cover the same ground over and over. Weir did not simply quote a book that was pulled from publication, she misrepresented the highly respected Israel Shahak and the not so respected Israel Shamir to make the point that Jews ritually killed Christians in medieval times. The only reason for her mentioning it was to link it to Bostrom’s bogus thesis that Israeli soldiers were hunting down Palestinians for their organs. Ha’aretz, HuffPo the Guardian and many newspapers reported both before and after the Bostrom article that Israel had indeed stolen body organs from dead bodies as have many countries but none of them supported Bostrom’s thesis. If all you can do is repeat Louis’s and Gupta’s lies you could just start your own blog and leave Louis the space he said he needed to write his explanation of why he posted a promo for white supremacism on his blog. I’ve noticed so far that Louis has kept quiet through you and that other troll Simon. I think you actually embarrass him more than he has embarrased himself.

    Anyway, Louis, did you watch this http://jewssansfrontieres.blogspot.co.uk/2015/07/louis-learns-lesson.html ? You need to get to the very end to see why it resembles Louis.

    Comment by levi9909 — July 4, 2015 @ 10:13 pm

  54. Louis once contributed to the Socialist Unity site and thought they were blocking him so he made the same point with a different name and it got through.

    Oh, my god, an obsessed stalker. Young man, you know there is a cure for obsession. You should get yourself a pint of Peppermint Schnapps and down it in one gulp. If you still have thoughts of any sort about me, the next step is to take the bottle and beat yourself over the head until they are gone.

    Comment by louisproyect — July 4, 2015 @ 11:13 pm

  55. Twice I’ve noticed that you lack integrity where your ego’s concerned. That’s not stalking any more than distancing oneself from Alison Weir is like a COINTELPRO operation. I was irritated by the SU business because I managed to make myself look foolish by sticking up for you to them only for them to show what a wanker you had been. I know so little of you that I don’t even know if this is your longest run of evasive dishonest comments. The point I was making, as you know, was that you always wanted to be taken seriously by other socialists and that you lack integrity. Every comment you have made in this post proves the latter point. Your guest post here tends to disprove the former point. No socialist could take Amith Gupta seriously which is why I am so convinced you made a mistake that you just can’t admit to.

    Comment by levi9909 — July 4, 2015 @ 11:39 pm

  56. Lenni Brenner is a Trotskyist scholar who writes on controversial Israeli topics and who helped Greta Berlin write an article after she was censured for her guilt by association. I think he would take Gupta seriously.

    Comment by Raccko (@racckoff) — July 4, 2015 @ 11:50 pm

  57. Raccko, every time Louis makes a complete dick of himself you come along to anonymously troll. Greta Berlin probably needed all the help she could get but Lenni Brenner has been barred from denouncing the antisemitism of, eg, Gilad Atzmon at Counterpunch. Gupta described Atzmon as an “alleged antisemite” in his post which was a bit like you saying that Clay Douglas “seems intolerant” or was that Simon? or even Louis? It’s getting hard to tell. But I’d be very surprised if Lenni Brenner would give Amith Gupta the time of day. Remember Amith Gupta asked for his piece to be circulated widely. Google some words. See how widely it has been distributed.

    As far as I could see it has only been posted on one other blog and marxmail and on the other blog it hasn’t been attributed to Amith Gupta but to a Palestinian.

    Anyway, I’ve read a lot of Lenni Brenner’s stuff. It’s significant for this thread that when the holocaust denying Institute for Historical Review praised Brenner’s Zionism in the Age of the Dictators he told them he’d like to smash up their offices. Now if the same group praised Louis’s writing, on past performance, he’d preen himself and thank them.

    So to recap:

    Louis has posted an article here that he simply cannot defend so he has resorted to demanding more space to explain himself, claiming he needed people to elaborate on the question of why he posted an article which was at best pretentious and at worst soliciting support for a ragbag of racists and not just Alison Weir, lying about the content of at least three newspaper articles which anyone can check (or could if he gave links to what he was lying about), claiming that any resemblance between a person and another person the first person quotes with approval is purely coincidental and resorting to cheap insults trivialising mental health issues and stalking when all else has failed. I think that sums it all up.

    How are the mighty fallen?

    Comment by levi9909 — July 5, 2015 @ 12:32 am

  58. It should be noted that the allegation of Israel harvesting organs came directly from the Palestinians, as relatives of Palestinians killed in Israeli custody reported that organs were missing when their loved ones were returned. The Palestinians made similar claims in the 1980’s and the Palestinians have called for Israeli soldiers to be brought to justice (whatever the truth, fat chance of that ever happening!).

    The point here is that the direct allegations of Palestinians get translated by the concerned Western liberals into an act of anti Semitism by anti Semitic Westerners. But what the Western liberals should be doing is calling the Palestinians anti Semitic, as this is where the allegations came from.

    You rarely hear the Western liberals attacking the Palestinians for anti Semitism. It is almost as if they project that onto some patsy.

    The Palestinian should be seen but not head!

    Comment by Simon Provertier — July 5, 2015 @ 1:56 pm

  59. Levi,
    Of course Mazin supports the arguments at least in general, since he posted it.
    Mazin was also a member of Greta Berlin’s facebook group, some of the posts on which served as the basis for Greta’s opponents’ second charge against her, that of Guilt by Association.
    The group’s members, including Mazin, wrote a public letter defending her. (“Many in the media accused Greta of actually endorsing this false claim. Being familiar with the relevant discussions, we attest that understanding the context makes it plain that she does not endorse it, nor are we aware of her ever suggesting that she does.” http://972mag.com/head-of-free-gaza-movement-anti-semitic-video-in-question-is-disgusting/57188/)

    It’s only natural then that Mazin would oppose a letter that also relies on Guilt by Association in denouncing another leading Solidarity activist.

    Comment by Raccko (@racckoff) — July 6, 2015 @ 5:33 pm

  60. Raccko, everything you’ve said here has been wrong or irrelevant. Plato’s guns posted Gupta’s post and wrongly attributed it to Mazin Qumsiyeh. I tried to get Gupta to correct them but he refused for some reason so I left the comment above at Plato’s Guns. I don’t know if Mazin Qumsiyeh posted Gupta’s piece anywhere but that wasn’t the point which was that he didn’t actually write it.

    The Plato’s Guns blogger kindly explained what had happened down his end. I don’t know where he saw the post but he gave a broken link to marxmail. Maybe Louis had formatting problems there too.

    Anyway, here’s the reply I got from the Plato’s Guns guy:

    “Hey Levi,

    Thanks for the info. You know, I searched throughout the article and the only name that appears at a break in paragraphs, around the first third of the article is Mazin’s name. No other name is mentioned throughout the article – I looked it over and through at least four times. Then I located the following: “Feel free to forward this widely. Contact me if you would like to publish some or all of it.” Well, I did exactly that, I emailed and asked for confirmation of author’s name and permission to share on my personal blog. I waited 48 hours – nothing. I emailed again – waiting another 24 and still no response. So then I figured I would put it up anyway till I heard back and if permission was refused, then I would simply take the post down, no problem. I still haven’t heard back re confirmation of name so I really don’t know what is what. I googled Mazin at the time – here’s his biog:
    http://qumsiyeh.org/aboutqumsiyeh/

    He’s an Arab-American professor and a Palestine activist so I assumed, what with his name being the only name on the document, and his work as activist, that it must be his work.

    I just went to your linked site and tis true, the name Gupta appears right at the beginning of the paper. I will replace authorship names right now. I will also write Gupta and ask for confirmation of authorship and permish.

    Thanks again for clarifying what was a very confusing authorship signature, or non-signature as is this case.

    I have no idea why Gupta was so happy for his work to appear under someone else’s name especially as he requested that people contact him if they want to publish even part of what he wrote. Sadly he’s lost his original enthusiasm for corresponding with me. Maybe the Plato’s Guns guy had more luck because he has now corrected the page to give full credit to Amith Gupta.

    Comment by Levi9909 — July 6, 2015 @ 6:55 pm

  61. concluding paragraph by alison weir from an update (10-2-13) to a post titled The unfortunate division over Gilad Atzmon ” The article reveals an outlook that I feel very few non-Jews are aware of (until I began working on Israel-Palestine, I certainly had no have no ideas of this), but that Atzmon, Eisen, and Shamir take on. Perhaps that’s why there is such an effort to prevent people from reading their commentaries for themselves — and now some of these attackers are also attacking those who of us who have stood against the witch hunt, such as Richard Falk, Greta Berlin, Roy Bard, Mazin Qumsiyeh, The Washington Report on Middle East Affairs, etc.” enough to discredit her and the so-called left sites (counterpunch) who bravely lend support to controversial antisemite atzmon . . .

    Comment by Rico Rocha — July 7, 2015 @ 4:47 pm

  62. ‘“It was just the formatting.” No, I was replying to the idiot Levi9909 who came up with a wild interpretation that suggests how addled the Jews without Frontier clique is.’

    So it’s a wild interpretation to assume that Louis Proyect has any principles and opposes white supremacism, apparently. That’s what I would have called a generous interpretation, and I only made my remark because I find it so instructive that he has dismissed that attempt to give him the benefit of the doubt with such vitriol.

    Comment by Elise Hendrick — July 12, 2015 @ 11:44 pm

  63. It’s also a bit ironic to see COINTELPRO being bandied about in this context, when Alison Weir and the white supremacist movement hijackers she works with have better ties to the US political and intel establishment (which they openly boast about) than any of the people criticising them.

    Comment by elisehendrick — July 12, 2015 @ 11:48 pm

  64. It is interesting that Weir is using this article as a defense against the indefensible; Weir freely associates with white supremacists and antisemites to get her point across which in reality is the hope she can brainwash enough ignorant people to make her opinion worth something, which it is not.

    Comment by Chris Berel — July 16, 2015 @ 1:14 am

  65. US Campaign statement expelling If American Knew. Because not everybody has lost their marbles
    http://www.endtheoccupation.org/article.php?id=4510

    Comment by evildoer — July 17, 2015 @ 4:14 pm

  66. It looks like a long line of signatories, including many people listed as JVP members, are supporting Weir in relation to the US Campaign statement:
    https://docs.google.com/forms/d/1oyHWpfZtMvDez5XThztcbRMbgzQqMnCibkVk4Rjh3Hw/viewform

    It says: We appreciate the important contributions to that cause made over many years by If Americans Knew, Jewish Voice for Peace, and the U.S. Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation.

    In that light, we are dismayed by the recent unfounded attacks on one of the top organizations working on this issue, If Americans Knew, and its dedicated leader, Alison Weir, by the leadership of Jewish Voice for Peace and the U.S. Campaign. Many of us are members of these groups and are unhappy at these significant actions made in our name but without consulting us…

    …They are based on guilt-by-association arguments through which numerous committed activists – including the leadership of the US Campaign and JVP – could equally, and also incorrectly, be called “anti-Semitic” and/or racist.

    This is true. I could go through the writings of very many activists who have written on the topic of Israeli-Palestinian relations and use inferences to rationally (if not correctly) claim something that they wrote is intolerant or culturally offensive. Take for example MJ Rosenberg’s tweet that an element of the Passover ritual, which I find pleasant and mystical, is gross. I don’t really believe that MJ Rosenberg is anti-semitic, but if someone wanted to puff up a case (as some of his anti-Palestinian opponents do), that is the kind of tweet that they could point to.

    This gets back to my original main point. It’s not even an issue of Weir herself, but the use of guilt by association and accusation by inference that is dangerous to use as a precedent against Solidarity activists because of how easily those criteria have been abused throughout history.

    Comment by Raccko (@racckoff) — July 17, 2015 @ 10:28 pm

  67. If another voice may enter this round: I find this controversy both somewhat sad but also fairly clear-cut. I’m a long time pro-Palestine radical activist with experience working with a range of the involved organizations/individual. The fact that Weir’s outfit—which is pretty much just herself and a couple of interns as far as I can tell, meaning it has no real constituency—is kooky at best and possibly dipped in the wax of some classic antisemitic thinking at worst is not new to me and has been widely accepted by most of the folks whose politics I trust.

    I’m very surprised that now that she’s finally being called out for the insidious use she makes of certain racialized notions about Jews, and her fellow-traveling with white supremacists, that so many good people are rushing to throw their bodies in front of the arrows directed at her. Put simply, I’d not at all call Weir “an antisemite” since she does not apply antisemitic concepts to all of her thinking about Jews, but she shows symptoms of another kind of problem, which is the person who opportunistically drops in antisemitic tropes within otherwise sound argumentation. That’s bad, it’s not to be celebrated or defended, and until Weir unlearns these habits she really has no cause to be surprised by her alienation of so many good activists.

    Comment by Pivoter — July 18, 2015 @ 11:33 pm

  68. Pivoter, why would it matter if not “all” her thinking “about Jews” is applying antisemitic concepts. Who cares what she thinks about Jews at all? The issue isn’t academic opinions but organizing strategies. How does linking Israel to the medieval blood libel and suggesting that there may be some truth to the latter should inform solidarity with Palestine? Weir’s antisemitism is indeed a symptom rather than a core issue. But the core issue is not “opportunism” but a political investment in whiteness, which is guaranteed to be reactionary. The “national interest”, which “Jewish pressure” supposedly undermines, is the interest of US imperialism, whose rule over both the US and the globe is inflected through race. A politics of building an anti-Israeli alliance between US imperialism and Arab nationalism is incoherent at best, but most importantly, it requires racism in order to function, that is, exporting the unpleasant aspects of US foreign policy onto an imaginary other, in this case Jews, in order to make white Americans victims, and indeed the primary victims. That is why it is not opportunism but a logical alliance between Weir and white suprematists, and she tolerates and occasionally echoes their antisemitism because objectively it is the necessary common ground for her politics, to which she wants to recruit the Palestine Solidarity movement as a junior partner.

    Why was she only now expelled? Two reasons in my view. First, it is she who put the pressure on JVP, demanding that they work with her. I would guess that JVP would have preferred to ignore her. But she made it impossible. The second reason, I would guess, is the positive effect of Ferguson and #blacklivesmatter on the level of consciousness of activists in the US, coupled with a strong white-supremacist backlash that is heightening the stakes and clarifying the issues. The meaning of associating with the confederacy flag has changed in the last year, thankfully. You will look at the expulsion statement above and see how central that issue is.

    Comment by evildoer — July 19, 2015 @ 3:23 pm

  69. and the reason why she has so many defenders goes to the same. The pervasiveness of unconscious investment in whiteness.

    Comment by evildoer — July 19, 2015 @ 3:31 pm

  70. “No So Evil” Doer, I agree. I did not know that Weir was applying pressure on JVP to coordinate efforts which would force JVP and the ETO organizations to unequivocally cut their ties with her and her organization. It appears her book, which she self-published, has been her undoing.

    Comment by chrisberel — July 19, 2015 @ 3:42 pm

  71. Louis,

    It looks like you were right and that Weir wasn’t actually discussing the medieval blood libel to propagate it, since she said in the beginning of the article to which JVP and End the Occupation object:
    “Numerous people likened the article to the medieval “blood libel,” (widely refuted stories that Jews killed people to use their blood in religious rituals).”

    Later in the article she discussed Toaff to make the point that you mentioned: That Bostrum’s article was attacked in the same way as someone who actually did repeat the blood libel – Toaff.

    Comment by Raccko (@racckoff) — July 20, 2015 @ 1:16 pm

  72. @evildoer: I can’t agree more. Your points about the salience of the #blacklivesmatter movement and other related trends—especially the ever more pronouncedly anti-racist (rather than national-liberationist) orientation of Palestine solidarity activity in the US (witness SJP’s coalitions on campus, which are made up of students of color, anti-racists, and not of ethnic particularists)—has made the racialist dabbling of Weir in the concepts of antisemitism untenable. Those who are still blowing her horn now are mired in moribund and defunct models of political organizing and liberationist imagining for Palestine. Good riddance.

    Comment by Pivoter — July 23, 2015 @ 11:06 am

  73. @racckoff: if you read Weir’s apologia for her blood libel piece (it’s on her website), it’s clear that she is defending Toaff. Her take on the blood libel is “we need to know more, it’s inconclusive.” Just as Holocaust deniers often do: rather than say “it didn’t happen”, they cry plaintively “more research is needed!” This is what she concludes about Toaff’s work: “At this point, I don’t know whether or not Professor Toaff’s considerable and somewhat dense scholarly work supports his allegations; to determine this requires considerable study and access to both versions of his book.” What a rhetorical twist: Toaff’s work is “considerable” and “dense” but she is simply not in a position to say if this clearly very impressive and significant work proves that the blood libel is true: it requires further considerable study! … In any case, the point is, why is she so fucking obsessed with whether medieval Italian Jews soaked their matzoh in the blood of Christian children? This dredging up of indisputably antisemitic ideas has no place in a discussion of Israeli abuses of Palestinians, including—if the allegations were true—organ harvesting. Again… good riddance to Weir. Palestine solidarity has moved on from her style of crypto-racialist thinking. Btw, just listen to her interview with the white supremacist radio program. It’s embarrassing, pathetic.

    Comment by Pivoter — July 23, 2015 @ 11:21 am

  74. Louis. I noticed in the marxmail thread (http://lists.csbs.utah.edu/pipermail/marxism/2015-July/263730.html) that your comrade, Amith Gupta leads with LOL and ends by describing a ragbag of fascists and white supremacists as “right libertarians”, he gave a google search link to Tony Greenstein’s blog rather than the post he was pretending to find laughable which is here: http://azvsas.blogspot.co.uk/2015/07/counterpunch-time-for-socialists-anti.html

    I just wondered if you could post it to the same thread so that people go to the correct place.

    Thanks

    ps I’ll put this comment on the two posts it’s relevant to. Apols for repetition.

    Comment by levi9909 — July 23, 2015 @ 12:14 pm

  75. Pivoter, Weir has always dealt in rumor and innuendo to make her points. When she uses a source, it is normally one of her cronies.

    Comment by Chris Berel — July 23, 2015 @ 11:44 pm

  76. […] Commenting on this now-vanished public, and internal JVP material, New York University law student Amith Gupta argued that “JVP has taken at least 4 different positions on Zionism, implying a lack of any principle regarding racism and colonialism against Palestine in particular and the Middle East as a whole.” “JVP’s statements imply a lack of principled positions regarding racism against Palestinians, Arabs, and Muslims, while taking a staunch position against perceived racism toward the Jewish community. This is a racist double-standard.” (https://louisproyect.org/2015/06/25/the-jewish-voice-for-peace-attack-on-alison-weir-jvp-loses-its-ba&#8230😉 […]

    Pingback by The Ecumenical Deal, 2.0 | The Question of Palestine — October 17, 2015 @ 10:32 pm


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