Left anti-semitism

The omnibus alibi

We continue our discussion the issue of “left-wing anti-semitism”. For articles from Solidarity on this subject see:

www.workersliberty.org/taxonomy/page
/or/422

Solidarity should be congratulated for tackling a once festering, now blossoming problem on the left. I can vividly remember during the first Gulf War the Israeli anti-war/anti-occupation group, Women in Black, being jeered as “Zionist whores” at a Washington anti-war rally as Iraqi scuds were being hurled at Israel.

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Unravelling the issues

We have started a discussion in Solidarity on the issue of “left-wing anti-semitism”, with an editorial in the last issue of the paper and an eaxtended review of Preachers of Hatred by Pierre-André Taguieff, a major French-language study of the issue. The articles can be found at:

www.workersliberty.org/taxonomy/page/
or/422.

We invite further contributions to the discussion.

conspiracy theories

I want to raise a few questions and make a few points in response to your welcome editorial “What is left anti-Semitism?”.

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Unfair to Draper

A lot of political tendencies and ways of thinking come under fire in the editorial “what is left anti-Semitism?” in Solidarity 3/82. Among them are those on the left who maintain appalling double standards towards Israel – opposing its occupation of Palestine with far more venom than that with which they oppose the equally (if not more) brutal occupations of, for example, Chechnya by Russia.

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The deadly logic of "absolute anti-Zionism"

Prêcheurs de Haine (Preachers of Hatred), by Pierre-André Taguieff, is a large scale, French-language study of “left wing” “judeophobia”.

Taguieff is not himself a leftist, but his observations and analysis of the left are not necessarily invalidated by that.

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Taking on anti-Semitism

On 10 July, seven AWL members took part in a protest against the jazz musician Gilad Atzmon performing at the Socialist Workers Party (SWP) summer school, Marxism. In articles Atzmon has said things such as “... we must begin to take the accusation that the Jewish people are trying to control the world very seriously... American Jews do try to control the world, by proxy.” The SWP has refused to condemn his politics.

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Up on the Malvolian heights

Up on the Malvolian Heights by Sean Matgamna

By Sean Matgamna

I find it difficult to accept that Jim Higgins intends his piece as a serious contribution to the discussion. He merely regurgitates and reformulates much that he said earlier, and which I refuted and corrected earlier - on Deir Yassin, for example.

Higgins, I fear, confuses track-covering repetition with serious argument, just as he confuses oblique evasiveness with wit, and elephantine orotundity with a praiseworthy style.

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I am an anti-Zionist because I am an anti-racist!

By Jim Higgins

Arguing with Sean Matgamna is rather like wrestling with a warm jelly and, despite my long-term experience with the gelatinous character of his political method, I was foolhardy enough to agree to his request to enter the debate flowing from his article: Paul Foot: Philo-Semite (if I am not mistaken this means a lover of Jews).

This I did, under the proposed headline: Sean Matgamna: Philo-Pede which means lover of feet. The article actually appeared with another, quite inappropriate headline: A Secular Democratic State says Jim Higgins.

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Two states for two peoples

By Sean Matgamna

In the recently made Disney cartoon version of the “Hunchback of Notre Dame” — so I’ve read somewhere — Quasimodo — “Quassi” — is not seriously deformed, and he is not cripplingly deaf; the villain is no longer a priest; the chirpy, friendly characters sing to each other in American accents; and, for all I know, it ends with Esmerelda and Quasimodo — “Essie and Quassi” — going off together hand in hand into the sunset.

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Paul Foot, philo-semite

Dear Paul Foot:
In your Socialist Worker column (16 May 1996) you print a letter in response to what you said about Israel on "Any Questions", headed "Mr Foot, Do You Hate The Jews?", and reply: "No, I don’t hate Jews at all".

Of course not. Who could possibly suspect you of hating Jews — a life-long socialist and for three and a half decades the most prominent acolyte of Tony Cliff, who is in origin a Palestinian Jew? No.

Paul Foot and the Jews

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"Mr Foot, do you hate the Jews?"

Column by Paul Foot in Socialist Worker, 18 May 1996

I got this letter recently from a woman in Surrey.

Dear Mr Foot,

I was so disappointed in you when I heard your hysterical outburst against Israel on 'Any Questions'.

I have admired your column in the Guardian and your cogent socialist views for a long time. However, you did yourself no good in the programme in revealing your up-till-now well-hidden anti-Jewish bias.

You took no account of the provocation received by Israel for such a long time from the terrorist group, Hezbollah.

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Why have the SWP invited an anti-semite?

By George Russell

How low can the “left” sink? It appears that these days belief in a “World Jewish Conspiracy” is not enough to get one “No-Platformed”. Instead, if you make the right noises on Palestine, you might even get invited to speak.

The SWP has invited the jazz musician Gilad Atzmon to play at Marxism 2005 and on 17 June he addressed a meeting on “Deconstructing Zionist Identity” at the Bookmarks, the SWP’s bookshop.

Here are some extracts from an article “On Anti-Semitism” on his website:

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The “rich Jews” bogeyman resurfaces

An open letter to Sue Blackwell, leader of the AUT pro-boycotters

“There has been a massive and well funded campaign against us and incredible pressure put upon members in the run up to this debate.” Sue Blackwell on the defeat of the academic boycott of Israel, in the Guardian, 27 May.

Dear Sue,

I’ve known you for two years. I know you as a sane, committed, long-time socialist. A socialist who long ago saw through and broke away from the demagogy and mindlessness of the SWP — with the exception of one momentous political question, the Israeli-Arab conflict.

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Livingstone and anti-semitism

On 4 March Ken Livingstone wrote a piece in the Guardian explaining where he stands on anti-semitism, what he thinks about the Israeli state, and why criticising the actions of that state is not anti-semitism. We wrote this letter in response. It wasn’t published.

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The Stalinist roots of left "anti-Zionism" 2

Part 1 of this article

Thus, the rise of Zionism and of Israel had nothing to do with reflex responses to Nazi or more general anti-semitic persecution. It was a gratuitous act of evil.

The Stalinist roots of left anti-Zionism,

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Advice For Tam Dalyell, by Paul Foot

Paul Foot’s column in the Guardian, 14 May 2003

Is Tam Dalyell anti-semitic? My first job as a young feature writer on the Scottish Daily Record 41 years ago was to interview the Labour candidate at a parliamentary by-election in West Lothian, an engag ing Old Etonian who lived in a castle. I liked him at once (and have liked him ever since) but was rather surprised when he told me a few months later that there was only one socialist country on earth: Israel.

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Ten tips against anti-Semitism

Translation from De Fabel van de illegaal 52/53, summer 2002
(http://www.gebladert.nl)
Authors: Eric Krebbers and Jan Tas

Activists wishing to criticise the Israeli state must be careful not to descend into anti-Semitic reasoning. Here are 10 tips to avoid anti-Semitism in discussions, articles, leaflets and demonstrations.

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