Louis Proyect: The Unrepentant Marxist

July 17, 2015

Support for Alison Weir

Filed under: Palestine — louisproyect @ 10:42 pm

Screen Shot 2015-07-17 at 6.40.03 PMRead full letter

 

39 Comments

  1. Based on the evidence supplied by JVP and The US Campaign, which is well founded and well supported, better so than any of Weir’s work, it appears that Weir is guilty. Regarding double standards, that is the exact phrase used by pro-Israel forces when confronted with crimes they may have committed. The Pro-Palestinian peace camp must weed out those with noted association with known antisemites and white supremacists we are to have any credibility and be above any moral cloud when accusations fly.

    I have always been troubled by Weir’s work. There are so many prejudicial statements made based on rumors, innuendos, uncorroborated anecdotes, half truths, and frankly, actual lies, that Weir’s tracts cannot be relied on and certainly not used as source material.

    The sooner we wash our hands of her the better.

    Comment by Chris Berel — July 17, 2015 @ 10:54 pm

  2. Hello, Chris.
    The problem is that Weir’s opponents went through her years of work and interview and found instances where they could rely on guilt by association on inferences. The US Campaign’s first main point against her was a blog post of another writer’s essay, in the the course of which the essayist favorably cited a Jewish philosopher’s passage, one sentence inf which I consider to be implicitly intolerant.

    This is the problem with tangential inferences. Weir did not actually say in her blog post that she supported the intolerant inference that I would tend to draw from the sentence cited. Nor do I think that she actually does. Nor for that matter do I think that bloggers, including Louis for that matter, agree with every sentence or inference from others’ essays that they post. Thus, inferences and guilt by association are a dangerous precedent against activists.

    Comment by Raccko (@racckoff) — July 18, 2015 @ 12:14 am

  3. I understand how you feel but her interviews with Douglas and her statement that he is not a racist is too hard to stomach. It is as if she will associate with anyone to get her way. I have never believed in the saying, “The enemy of my enemy is my friend,” but it appears to be Weir’s mantra. Her association with Atzmon, whom Palestinians have called us to disassociate, is equally troubling. I know you are sincere in your belief but Weir has gone to far for me to accept as anything but poisoned fruit..

    Comment by Chris Berel — July 18, 2015 @ 1:43 am

  4. clearly the evidence here is more than isolated ‘instances’; a continuing record of uncritical association with far-right and racist organisations is more than a matter of ‘tangential references’. And frankly, some associations are culpable.

    http://www.endtheoccupation.org/article.php?id=4510#sthash.poBIooPr.ZNQUFOe9.dpuf

    Comment by stephen marks — July 18, 2015 @ 1:58 am

  5. Chris,
    My main concern is how Solidarity activists should address accusations of racism against other Solidarity activists, because as you know, this kind of accusation has often been abused for political reasons. Our goals should include avoiding hysteria and divisions, cooperating for humanitarian goals, and trusting other humanitarian activists with a presumption that they aren’t racists. In that case, the best criterion for deciding if a fellow activist is racist is to look for explicit, clear racist statements, rather than rely on guilt by association or inferences, which can both be deceptive, particularly in a highly charged climate.

    Personally, I think that Alison, a California human rights activist and very dedicated journalist, is driven by the unjust and “cutting edge” nature of the conflict, which she says is bring improperly covered in the mass media, rather than by some racism.

    The fact that she has appeared on right wing programs and didn’t correct mistaken claims by one of her hosts could lead someone to think that she shares their right wing views. However, on closer reflection, this isn’t necessarily the case, since she’s been on a wide array of programs, including Israeli right wing ones, the Corries and Pappe have appeared on the same ones that she has, and political figures frequently appear on their opponents’ programs without ascribing to their views or debunking all their hosts’ incorrect statements. So for example, Weir did correct her host that Jews are not the same as Zionists. But as Weir’s critics pointed out, after a series of statements by her host, including that the host had the “Protocols” on his website and that people claimed Weir was communist, Weir corrected him that she was not communist, but she didn’t go back and criticize the Protocols. In fact, her failure to bring up the Protocols again should not be a basis to infer that she actually believes in the Protocols, and I am sure that she doesn’t. However, this kind of “inference of racism from occasional silence” is a key element in JVP’s and End the Occupation’s censuring of Weir, and it’s actually an insufficient basis to label someone else as a racist, particularly because she did sometimes correct her host.

    I think that Douglas made intolerant, stereotypical statements, and would certainly not make them myself. But there are two problems for judging Weir as racist because she didn’t see Douglas as racist. First, did she really endorse Douglas’ offensive statements as nonracist? If so, she should give an explanation for why she said that. Perhaps after she corrected Douglas, she imagined that Douglas’ statements weren’t racist per se, but were only directed at certain political groups.

    Second, just because Weir would have incorrectly claimed that Douglas was nonracist doesn’t actually mean that she is racist herself. Otherwise, we would fall into the trap of guilt by association and inference again. If Alison’s mistaken claim that Douglas is nonracist proves that Alison is racist, then the long line of activists like Cindy Sheehan would be racist based on the same criterion of “guilt by claim of nonracism”, since they endorsed Alison as nonracist.

    This is why I say that Solidarity activists should work on the presumption that other human rights activists aren’t racist- otherwise we are pulled down into a spiral of inward pointing accusations based on guilt by association and inferences, when the best criteria for deciding if someone is racist is whether she makes direct, explicitly racist statements herself.

    Comment by Raccko (@racckoff) — July 18, 2015 @ 4:17 am

  6. Raccko, You, Louis and Amith Gupta (who I believe wrote this open letter) all know, Alison Weir has made many racist statements in her own right as have been detailed here http://www.endtheoccupation.org/article.php?id=4510#sthash.poBIooPr.ZNQUFOe9.dpuf. You also know that her associations with, eg Clay Douglas (among other white supremacists) are recent, current, on-going and supportive and yet you have described them as “some temporary past association with someone else who appears intolerant” http://tinyurl.com/qcl5dlv Similarly, Amith Gupta has described Gilad Atzmon as an “alleged antisemite”. Clearly your main concern is nothing to do with how activists address issues or each other. Like Amith Gupta, your aim is to mainstream racists and antisemites in the Palestine solidarity movement.

    Stephen and Chris, if you scan the comments on the previous guest post by Amith Gupta – http://tinyurl.com/nf75z7m – you will see Raccko simply trolling by ignoring any evidence which contradicts what he is saying. Regarding Louis now doing two posts that support accommodating racism within the Palestine solidarity movement I think it started as an honest mistake where he simply posted something he hadn’t read by someone he thought he knew. He tried deleting it but it had been noticed so he reposted it and dug in by resorting to evasions. lies and insults. Even if you check the tags at the top of the posts he studiously avoids tagging to antisemitism or racism because then it would be seen how far he has departed from his usual intolerance for both. https://louisproyect.org/category/anti-semitism/ Instead he tags misleadingly to Palestine in this post and Palestine and zionism in the earlier one.

    I don’t know why after all his years of activism Louis couldn’t simply say, “woops, sorry, I goofed” instead of promoting a racist agenda but, Stephen and Chris, unless you have lots of time and patience it’s pointless trying to reason with Louis or with the trolls who come to defend his posts. And regarding the author of the earlier guest post and the open letter (Amith Gupta), attempts at any constructive engagement with him are as futile as with Louis and Raccko – http://jewssansfrontieres.blogspot.co.uk/2015/07/louis-proyect-remains-unrepentant.html

    Comment by levi9909 — July 18, 2015 @ 8:25 am

  7. Hello, Levi.
    The only direct statements by Weir that the End the Occupation Campaign letter specifically opposed were her passage on Prof.Toaff and two statements from her radio interview, besides her claims that Clay was not racist. A conclusion that the statements listed were racist must rely on indirect inferences, which is a dangerous way to judge Solidarity activists.

    One of those statements was that “Muslims feel very close to Christians” and have “reverence” for them, but “sadly, if you look at the theology of Judaism, that is quite different.”

    One could tangentially infer that since Weir rues Judaism’s “quite different” position toward Christians, she is intolerant towards Judaism’s adherents. But that inference is not necessarily correct, anymore than JSF’s article complaining about an Israeli religious decision imposing circumcision implies that JSF is intolerant of Judaism. It could just be that you and Weir are simply criticizing some aspect of Judaism or some of its practitioners’ decisions.

    Comment by Raccko (@racckoff) — July 18, 2015 @ 4:20 pm

  8. Raccko, It appears that you are trying to white wash Weir’s racist statements. There is no way to wash Weir’s conversation with Douglas. No reasonable person can judge Douglas as anything but a racist and Weir appears to be subscribing to the “ends justify the means” philosophy will, also, will not wash.

    Weir has always skated the line between anti-Zionism and antisemitism. This time, and a handful of other times, she skated over the line.Weir is a liability in the quest for Palestinian justice, the same, though certainly not equal or worse, as Atzmon. The majority of Americans support Israel because they cannot morally support palestinians based on their overt tactics. Weir, like Atzmon, is one more clear liability that adds to the moral qualm facing most Americans.

    Comment by Chris Berel — July 18, 2015 @ 6:56 pm

  9. Also, in Weir’s rebuttal to JVP she throws respected activist under the bus; “Rev. Dankof has also interviewed peace activists Ray McGovern and Jennifer Lowenstein, Israeli professor and author Ilan Pappe, and journalist and commentator Dilip Hiro…”

    Comment by chrisberel — July 18, 2015 @ 7:19 pm

  10. “One could tangentially infer that since Weir rues Judaism’s “quite different” position toward Christians, she is intolerant towards Judaism’s adherents. But that inference is not necessarily correct…”

    Perhaps, Raccko, by the same token you would argue that Dawkins and Harris are not Islamophobes?

    Comment by jk — July 18, 2015 @ 9:00 pm

  11. “The majority of Americans support Israel because they cannot morally support palestinians based on their overt tactics.”

    Americans have refused to support Palestinians regardless of their tactics, morality has nothing to do with it. I therefore doubt that Allison Weir, who I have no opinion about, except that she seems to have adopted an organizing strategy amongst the far right that is not likely to be very successful, has any impact at all upon the effectiveness of the struggle against Zionism in Palestine as most Americans have never heard of her.

    For this reason, if the Palestinians developed the capacity to initiate armed struggle to bring about their liberation, I would support them in this enterprise.

    Comment by Richard Estes — July 18, 2015 @ 11:05 pm

  12. I agree, Richard:

    Americans have refused to support Palestinians regardless of their tactics, morality has nothing to do with it. I therefore doubt that Allison Weir, who I have no opinion about, except that she seems to have adopted an organizing strategy amongst the far right that is not likely to be very successful, has any impact at all upon the effectiveness of the struggle against Zionism in Palestine as most Americans have never heard of her.

    Comment by Raccko (@racckoff) — July 18, 2015 @ 11:38 pm

  13. Hello, JK.

    You asked: “Perhaps, Raccko, by the same token you would argue that Dawkins and Harris are not Islamophobes?” If Dawkins were a tireless fellow Solidarity activist, then in general I would give him the benefit of a doubt where it was possible to do so, putting his statement in the context of the social activism for the oppressed he was involved in. And in fact some of Dawkins’ statements that single out Islam I don’t consider necessarily Islamophobic.

    Unfortunately, I am unaware of Dawkins being an activist for the oppressed, and his tweet that “Of COURSE most Muslims are peaceful. But if someone’s killed for what they drew or said or wrote, you KNOW the religion of the killers” sounds Islamophobic to me. The problem with Dawkins’ statement is that you don’t really know that the killers in his hypothetical would be Muslim, since Dawkins’ own co-religionists, the atheists, have killed a number of religious opponents in the modern era comparable to the number of victims of Muslim religious persecution in the last ten years. Under Joseph Stalin perhaps tens of thousands of people were killed for religion, although the body count might have started with his predecessors. China allegedly kills some Falun Gong practitioners, and other political opponents for what they “said or wrote”.

    Dawkins’ statement that you can tell a killer’s religion if they kill a person for what the latter “said or wrote” is such a clearly mistaken, exaggerated, categorical, violent accusation against Islam that the statement is Islamophobic. (http://www.salon.com/2015/01/07/richard_dawkins_goes_on_anti_islam_rant_blames_charlie_hebdo_massacre_on_entire_religion/)

    If someone had made the same statement as Dawkins, but directed it against Judaism, the statement would be judeophobic for the same reason.

    Weir however rued that Judaism has “much different” attitude toward Christians than the positive one that Islam does, and JSF complained that an Israeli court imposed circumcision when the parents were divided on the topic. Neither of those criticisms are necessarily Judeophobic, since Weir and JSF have nonracist reasons for making those rational criticisms. And based on my presumption of trust toward human rights activists, I am not prepared to attack them. But were people to use the dangerous precedent of a “presumption of racism” and use tangential inferences against Solidarity activists, then the opponents of Weir and JSF could label both as intolerant against Judaism’s adherents.

    Unfortunately, that’s what the End the Occupation Letter relies on in attacking Weir, which sets a dangerous precedent against very many other Solidarity and human rights activists. I appreciate that Louis has chosen to host the well-signed petition in support of Allison.

    Comment by Raccko (@racckoff) — July 19, 2015 @ 12:33 am

  14. Richard, you seem to have jumped from the strategy of the solidarity movement to the tactics of the Palestine national movement itself. This open letter and the post preceding it (https://louisproyect.org/2015/06/25/the-jewish-voice-for-peace-attack-on-alison-weir-jvp-loses-its-balance-2/) both seem to be aimed at establishing a principle of organising the Palestine solidarity movement around the extreme right.

    We can all support, critically or uncritically, any movement among the Palestinians themselves or we can carry on solidarity work irrespective of how Palestinians resist or even if they don’t resist. But Palestinians are oppressed by the most powerful combination of forces so solidarity work is even more vital than in the case of the anti-apartheid movement. Now whether or not we have heard of this or that named individual, flirtations with or a full-blown embrace of extreme rightists cannot possibly help the movement grow if our objection to zionist rule is its racism. And of course racism is plain immoral and shouldn’t be tolerated regardless of what the racists claim they are setting out to achieve. I’m sure, Richard, you don’t need to be told that but sadly some opportunists do need telling.

    Comment by levi9909 — July 19, 2015 @ 7:57 am

  15. In Europe the opposite is the case, the Zionists have sometimes directly joined forces with the far right in order to show solidarity against the Muslim infestation of Europe (this is how they see it).

    Thing is, none of this seems to hurt the Zionist movement one little bit.

    So why are we so defensive when someone on our side is found to have some link to a far right group?

    Maybe Levi will answer that question one fine day?

    Comment by Simon Provertier — July 19, 2015 @ 6:27 pm

  16. I believe you are a little confused. Members of the European right wing have attempted to join forces with Zionists but for the most part those attempts have failed. The Zionist papers go into battle formation whenever it looks like the right might succeed. That is why the attempts do not affect the Zionists.

    Comment by chrisberel — July 19, 2015 @ 7:58 pm

  17. “This open letter and the post preceding it both seem to be aimed at establishing a principle of organising the Palestine solidarity movement around the extreme right.”

    I don’t believe that this is the intention, but I wonder if JVP and the US Campaign have characterized a political dispute, admittedly a highly charged one, as anti-semitism. Personally, I think that JVP and the US Campaign would be on the correct side of the issue if the issue is about engaging extreme rightists known for anti-semitic and racist beliefs.

    But that doesn’t make Weir anti-semitic. Of all the material included in the statement against her, I am most troubled about her claim that Muslims have a closeness with Christians and reference for them that Jewish people don’t. It is a reductionist statement that displays a profound ignorance about all three religions and the people who practice them. It also suggests an oddly Orientalist identification with Islam, one in which Muslim experience is expropriated for the anti-Zionist cause. It is hard for me to understand how making such statements increases support for the Palestinians.

    Comment by Richard Estes — July 19, 2015 @ 8:54 pm

  18. Richard, I find Weir to be very calculating and I believe she orchestrates her tactics. In an overall review of her book, she infers that American Jews are not loyal to the US in that she continuously shows American Jews “badgering” the US president to support the creation of a Jewish state in the Middle east supposedly against American interests (which we know refers to imperialistic and capitalistic interest wherein Arab oil is the most important thing in the world at that time and ensuring US access, no matter who is tossed under the bus, is the highest priority).

    The is the antisemitic “Israel First” charge so often thrown in the face of American Jews by ultra-nationalists. The same type Weir seems to be willing to attract. I do not believe Weir cares for Palestinians at all. This is just a means to her desired end. At least that is my opinion of this mess.

    Comment by chrisberel — July 19, 2015 @ 9:51 pm

  19. Hi Richard.
    I think that you may be right that “I don’t believe that this is the intention, but I wonder if JVP and the US Campaign have characterized a political dispute, admittedly a highly charged one, as anti-semitism.” I noticed that the discussions or debates elsewhere seem to have a focus on Weir’s main issue in her advocacy: that of the importance of the lobby. That is, her strongest detractors appear to take special exception to her claim about the lobby’s importance in US policy on the conflict. It may be that the real underlying debate is the political dispute on Weir’s main topic, not actually her appearance on the right wing shows, since others like Pappe, Loweinstein, and the Corries have appeared on them without raising similar objections from the same quarters.

    As for her statement on Islam’s closeness to Christianity, she actually didn’t mention the Jewish people in that context, but only “Judaism’s theology” on Christians. Now personally, I understand Judaism’s theology on this- it does not accept that a man like Jesus can be God. However, I do understand what Weir calls her “sadness” on the theology’s hostility, which in the last two centuries has weakened due to better interfaith relations. for example, a small number of respected Reform Jewish theologians propose that Jesus was a Messiah to gentiles.

    Comment by Raccko (@racckoff) — July 19, 2015 @ 10:30 pm

  20. ^ One of those theologians was the philosopher Franz Rozenweig, who gave limited acceptance to the New Covenant. Of course, his is a minority view, but my point is that the theological hostility has lessened in the more Reformed quarters. My point is that one need not think about Reform Judaism in a categorical way.

    Comment by Raccko (@racckoff) — July 19, 2015 @ 10:34 pm

  21. Richard, do you generally criticize activists for refusing to form alliances with the far right, or is this treatment reserved for Jewish activists only?

    Comment by evildoer — July 19, 2015 @ 11:23 pm

  22. “not so evil” doer, interesting comment. I am more concerned regarding the comment about Weir possibly separating Judaism’s theology from the Jewish people. I do not see how practicing Jews, engaged in practicing the precepts of that theology, can possibly be separated from it. Again, this appears to be an attempt to white-wash Weir through semantics. It doesn’t fly. Weir is making antisemitic comments, and she is to clever not to know exactly what she is doing.

    Comment by chrisberel — July 19, 2015 @ 11:36 pm

  23. Chris, I leave it to you to parse the exact meaning of Weir’s antisemitism. I’m not saying that is unimportant. But it is far less important that understanding what is happening. An activist organization is attacked for refusing to work with the far right. We can argue over how deep Weir’s commitment to antisemitism is, but she is undoubtedly a habitué of some of the most racist and violent regions of the American far right, whose racism and antisemitism she defends. And of top of it it is a Jewish organization who refused to work with someone who insinuated Jews have a history of committing ritual murder , and who nods in assent when she hears some of the most heinous lies about Jewish history (like murdering 60 million “white russians”).

    In a situation like that, I expect everyone to not mince words and to wear their colors on their sleeves. Which side are you on? I think JVP deserves outright unconditional solidarity here from everyone committed to anti-racism.

    Comment by evildoer — July 20, 2015 @ 12:07 am

  24. I agree.

    Comment by chrisberel — July 20, 2015 @ 12:11 am

  25. chrisberel,

    You are the one confused. The Zionist movement will use any possible link,between the Palestinian solidarity movement and the far right, no matter how weak or how representative, and use this as proof that the entire movement is an anti Semitic evil that must be crushed. And then leftist supporters of the Palestinians cower in the face of such intimidation.

    But my point is, why should we have to defend ourselves at all, when members of the Zionist movement have been cosying up to far right thugs?
    So what that some people on the Pro Palestinian side have a less than noble background? Why are WE the ones on the defensive?

    And the ‘liberal’ defenders of Israel should be worrying about their own shit rather than concentrating on the few ‘bad apples’ in the Palestinian movement.

    But the term liberal Zionist is a complete oxymoron, I mean even the trains in Israel are racist!

    A number of far rightists have been invited to and attended Zionist conferences. I know of a number of Zionist supporters in France who have gone over wholesale to the Front National.

    This article provides an example of how the far right and Zionists come together in common cause (it is one of many):

    https://www.middleeastmonitor.com/articles/europe/1484-uncovered-the-unholy-zionist-edl-alliance

    It does make me wonder why the victims (Palestinians) have to be whiter than white while the viscous perpetrator can be a dark shade of black.

    Comment by Simon Provertier — July 21, 2015 @ 8:12 am

  26. No confusion. Is there any reason those advocating the Zionist side would not point out such affiliation as a sign that the PSM is willing to accede to the demands of white supremacists and antisemites? That is precisely why there can be no link. That is why people like Weir and Atzmon and Duke must be shunned. If only it were a few bad apples. The PSM must be pure to maintain the status of victim. Any stain shifts public perception. The perception of the perpetrator is that the ends justify the means. So if you want to go that route, you will lose.

    Comment by Ishmailav — July 21, 2015 @ 10:05 am

  27. Simon, First, the issue is not Palestinians, but the racism of certain white people in the US, so please don’t project your politics on Palestinians. The US Campaign against the occupation is a coalition of US organizations that act in solidarity with Palestinians (hint, look at the name). If you want, I can point you to a statement of Hamas refusing to collaborate with French fascists because they don’t want to deal with antisemites. Maybe you can write a petition denouncing them.

    Second, your notion of strategy strikes me as adolescent. “The Zionists will always accuse me, so let me make it easy for them by actually living up to the accusation”? Why don’t you also store a ton of fertilizer in your backyard to save the FBI the effort of planting evidence that you are a terrorist? Others think of strategy as “what it takes to be effective.” Now we might not agree on that either. They are certainly a few, including some of the organizers of this petition, who think racism is a good strategy against Israel. They are a tiny minority, but they are sore losers.

    Third, and the key issue here, is that you think being racist is at best an image problem. It isn’t. For the majority of activists who join the solidarity movement, opposition to racism is a foundation of their politics, not a show we put on to please anyone. It is a movement foundation that informs methods of organizing, goals, alliances and strategy. You don’t share that. That is unfortunate but since the US is a country built on racism from the ground up, it is not surprising that there are so many Americans who don’t see racism as an important issue. It is also not surprising that people who grow up with an overdose of white entitlement feel outraged when it is suggested to them that they might have done something wrong, and insist that others must take their racist behavior in stride, because if it doesn’t bother them, why should it bother anyone (they are the measure of all things, after all). Well, you are not.

    Comment by evildoer — July 21, 2015 @ 10:15 am

  28. “The Zionists will always accuse me, so let me make it easy for them by actually living up to the accusation”?

    I was NOT talking about me, so your attempt to turn my words into a confession are a signal of your authoritarian tendencies! I was saying a movement as wide as Palestinian solidarity can’t be judged by a few cranks, especially when we are faced with a thoroughly racist, violent and supremacist state such as Israel – no wonder they are so generally admired by the right wing of politics!

    “Third, and the key issue here, is that you think being racist is at best an image problem. It isn’t. ”

    Again your fevered imagination or barefaced dishonesty has interpreted my words in this way. I don’t have to answer such dishonesty, simply point it out so people know what level of the gutter you play in.

    “so please don’t project your politics on Palestinians.”

    This is a typical trait of the liberal, project all racism on a few white folk and see no evil and hear no evil from the noble victims. It is a kind of game that liberals from opposing sides play with each other.

    For your information there is some of what liberals would call downright Antisemitism from the Palestinians themselves, from holocaust denial to outright hatred of Israelis. In the struggle against oppression not all is sweetness and light, not really a comfortable place for liberals.

    What puzzles me is why this is a problem for the pro Palestinian movement but doesn’t seem to be a problem for the supporters of the racist and supremacist state of Israel? I mean why should I need a strategy? Isn’t the plight of the Palestinians so stark, so obvious that any right minded person will show solidarity? Surely it should be the Zionists who need a strategy!

    The answer, of course, lies in the interests of the US empire and its rogues gallery of allies – hangers on, hoping for a share of the loot, some crumbs off the table. If the Palestinians are relying for their support on fickle people who run a mile at the sight of political incorrectness or some bad publicity they are well and truly screwed. They need people who are focused on what is really important, i.e. their continued brutal oppression. everything else is merely a distraction.

    Comment by Simon Provertier — July 21, 2015 @ 10:38 am

  29. From the US Campaign statement:

    • On allies: In Ms. Weir’s response and public comments, she insists that we need to spread the word about Palestinian rights, wherever we can, to gain more allies to our cause. We strongly believe that one cannot be an ally to the Palestinian cause if one’s objection to Israel’s actions toward Palestinians is part and parcel of one’s broader worldview of hatred toward all non-whites and non-Christians. Such “allies” want to use our movement to further their racist aims rather than truly help the Palestinian people. Just as we would not accept the KKK as an “ally” we also cannot accept individuals or groups that believe in its hateful ideology. It is the same logic we apply in not accepting any overtly Islamophobic, Zionist or homophobic groups in our coalition.

    • On strategic value: Claiming a strategic value in appearing on white supremacist media without challenging the racist or bigoted views presented, on the basis that it allows our message further access, may sound compelling, and even courageous to some, but it is an argument rooted in white privilege. We know that it is Palestinians, their struggle, and other people of color who suffer the consequences when movement members carry such affiliations. Principled advocates of Palestinian rights appear on media outlets that have promoted bigoted narratives, such as Fox News or CNN, in order to challenge, not reinforce, racism in all of its forms, including anti-Palestinian bias, Zionist propaganda, Islamophobia and white supremacy.

    • On white supremacy: White supremacy is racism emanating from white privilege, or the belief that white people are superior to all other groups and races. The institutionalization of this hateful ideology has led to the killing and oppression of millions of native, African-American and other non-white people throughout the history of the United States. Institutionalized white supremacy continues its attack on black and brown communities today in various forms including police brutality, mass incarceration, anti-immigrant policies, and widespread Islamophobia. Appeasing white supremacists for political gain empowers and legitimizes white supremacy, which contributes to its ongoing ability to materially affect people’s lives.

    • On divisiveness: We have heard concerns that bringing up these issues can be considered ‘divisive’ in our movement. We do not take those concerns lightly. We weigh them against the tendency in dominant culture to shy away from discussion about race and racism in order not to break a perceived consensus. This is as true for race in this country as it is for Palestinian advocacy. However, to be true to our principles, we must recognize that what is truly divisive is condoning racism or bigotry of any kind. Appeals to unity that fail to address issues of racism are rooted in white privilege, ultimately placing the burden on people of color to accept this racism as part of joining the movement or our coalition.

    • On muzzling of dissent: We recognize that advocacy for Palestinian rights is often met with attempts to muzzle speech or portray legitimate criticism of Israeli policies as anti-Semitic. We have all learned to be vigilant to bring these efforts to light whenever they occur. Just as we insist on continuing to speak up loudly and forcefully for Palestinian rights, we hold the same commitment regarding racism and other forms of bigotry. Failing to do both violates our principles and damages the movement at large.

    Comment by evildoer — July 21, 2015 @ 10:51 am

  30. Simon, I didn’t not say that all Palestinians are angels. First because the issue is organizational and institutional practices, not the characteristics of different nations. But if you want to criticize instances of palestinian antisemitism, please go ahead and do that. It has nothing to do with Alison Weir or the petition above. Of course white supremacy is an issue in the United States. Are you seriously suggesting otherwise. Calling this “liberal” is just too funny.

    Why should we need a strategy? Oh God. Please grow up.

    Comment by evildoer — July 21, 2015 @ 12:59 pm

  31. “Failing to do both violates our principles and damages the movement at large.”

    Whose support do we lose when these type of stories get out?

    Why can they be open supporters of a racist state, openly justify periodic mass murder etc etc etc and it doesn’t harm their movement but our movement must be whiter than white and any indiscretion, however unrepresentative or small, can be picked up and used to damage us? Sounds like liberal guilt to me.

    I think this constant inner turmoil by ‘liberals’ or ‘well meaning folk’ or whatever the hell we want to call them, is a sign of a movement disconnected from the actual victims and tactically a mistake because such inner turmoil, worrying about what happens at the fringes of the movement, distracts from the actual issue and causes a kind of inertia.

    If we lose a few liberals because of the actions of a few cranks so what? Who needs that kind of fickle support?

    Comment by Simon Provertier — July 23, 2015 @ 11:14 am

  32. 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 @ 12:13 pm

  33. Firstly there is no doubt that the far-right have linked up with Zionism in Europe, not least at the level of parliamentary politics – e.g. Michal Kaminiski MEP and Robert Ziles MEP for LNNK in Latvia who marches annually with the Waffen SS and pays homage at Yad vashem!

    There is no dispute that Alison Weir has appeared on Clayton Douglas’s radio show. Clayton Douglas is clearly a racist and white supremacist. Palestine solidarity is, by its very nature, an anti-racist campaign. Given the use of the Holocaust by the Zionists and their charges of ‘anti-Semitism’ to play around with any form of racism or to appear to legitimise those who are racists is to do a gross disservice to the Palestinians. It really is that simple. Appearing once on this radio show might be unfortunate and could be explained away. To appear 10 times is unforgiveable.

    When you link this with her associations with and support for Gilad Atzmon, someone whose anti-Semitism cannot be in doubt (& whose Zionism is also not in doubt) then this confirms everything that has been said about her.

    The suggestion that Jewish theology provides a clue to the persecution of the Palestinians essentialises the whole issue. It’s not a question of the support of British imperialism or settler colonialism but a rereading of the Talmud! It’s not ony anti-Semitic it is virulently Zionist, which is not surprising since Zionism is a form of Jewish anti-Semitism.

    That someone who considers himself a Marxist, Louis Proyect, supports a racist is unfortunate. It just shows the political degeneration of some ‘Marxists’. Perhaps that is why Counterpunch is seen as another useful outlet.

    However we don’t need to get into a battle of footnotes. All that is required is to go back to anti-racist and anti-imperialist basics.

    http://azvsas.blogspot.co.uk/2015/07/jvp-dissociates-itself-from-alison-weir.html

    Comment by Tony Greenstein` — July 23, 2015 @ 2:13 pm

  34. Greenstein, I will be answering you when I get some time but whether or not I am a Marxist will be determined by the articles I write and not where I publish. As I have pointed out on previous occasions, I feel deeply honored to have my articles appear on CounterPunch that has also published Arno Mayer. I can assume that you know who Arno Mayer is but maybe not…

    Comment by louisproyect — July 23, 2015 @ 2:32 pm

  35. Wow, an ad hominem defence. That was clever Louis. But isn’t it the case that Stormfront and JewWatch also publish Jewish leftists when it suits? I mean the good stuff published on any site says nothing of the site itself nor the standing, outlook or quality of any or all of its other contributors but I doubt very much if even Jeffrey St Clair thinks you’re of Arno Mayer’s calibre. What he seems to have seen in you is a rank opportunist who will do or say almost anything to get published to a wider readership than on his own blog. Also, if you’re honoured by the presence of a good man why are you not dishonoured by the presence of so many dodgy ones? Maybe you’ll explain that away as some kind of dialectical thing

    Now, when you write to Tony Greenstein about what a good marxist you still are, don’t forget that in these threads you have engaged in your own dishonest apologetics for the very unmarxist, Alison Weir and that you have expressed pride in your comradeship with Amith Gupta who openly advocates alliances with racists and refers to white supremacists as “right libertarians”, oh yes, and he called Gilad Atzmon an “alleged antisemite”.

    So essay title, why Louis Proyect is still a marxist. Good luck with your toughest assignment yet, Louis.

    Comment by levi9909 — July 23, 2015 @ 3:52 pm

  36. Proyect: You have proved what I was asserting. Any charlatan and opportunist can publish a left-sounding, ‘Marxist’ if you will, article. It’s not that difficult. Whether it does in fact bear any relation to Marxism or the class struggle or indeed anti-imperialism depends on the circumstances of its publication, including where it is published. Or is it seriously suggested that you can write for far-right and racist rages and still pupport to be a Marxist? I guess you do since you are honoured to share a platform with Gilad Atzmon and even worse Israel Shamir.

    I’m sorry you think it is a mark of erudition to have heard of Arno Mayer. Perhaps that is a sign of arrogance or the onset of political senility. In fact I reviewed it for two British revolutionary papers, Weekly Worker and Permanent Revolution alongside the much more impressive Returns of Zionism by Gabriel Piterberg. http://weeklyworker.co.uk/worker/751/between-moral-outrage-and-historical-analysis/.

    I’ll save you the trouble of having to link to it and quote my opening paragraph:
    ‘This is a tale of two books. Both come from the same end of the political spectrum, but there the similarity ends. Piterberg’s The returns of Zionism is a tour de force and deserves a place on the bookshelf of anyone seriously interested in an analysis of the historical, political and ideological origins of Zionism. Mayer’s book is best placed on the coffee table.

    Perhaps we should describe you as a coffee table Marxist?

    Comment by Tony Greenstein` — July 23, 2015 @ 4:13 pm

  37. Greenstein, you really belong in Weekly Worker and Permanent Revolution. You have found your metier.

    Comment by louisproyect — July 23, 2015 @ 5:54 pm

  38. And now an ad hom attack. You’re on cracking form, Louis.

    Comment by Levi9909 — July 23, 2015 @ 6:03 pm

  39. Proyect: I agree. Revolutionary socialist publications and even The Guardian are more hospitable publications than those which give safe refuge to all manner of conspiracy theorists, racists and fascists. Not forgetting the odd ‘Marxist’ of course!!!

    Comment by Tony Greenstein` — July 23, 2015 @ 8:44 pm


RSS feed for comments on this post. TrackBack URI

Blog at WordPress.com.

%d bloggers like this: