Anti-semitism amongst the left and anarchists

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yoshomon
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Dec 27 2008 15:11

I think the deeper issue, beyond the specific mystifications tossed about by this guy or that guy, is why so many Leftists are obsessed with Israel in the first place. Why is Israel talked about more by the Left than any other place on the planet? I think it finally comes down to Israel being a material manifestation of "Jewish power" that can be attacked, though most people will do all kinds of mental gymnastics to claim otherwise. The obsession is certainly not out of compassion for Palestinians (whatever that even means) because people aren't exactly burning Jordanian and Egyptian flags at rallies, or Hamas flags for that matter.

The other even bigger thing is why so many here are defending the Left in the first place. Whatever happened to the communist critique of the left wing of capital? Why is it surprising that Leftists would be nationalist or anti-semitic? I don't think that the latter is fundamental to Leftism by any means, but the Left has always been just as much an enemy as the right, even if it is mostly disorganized and pitiful in most anglophone countries. In the case of the SWP and others, they are willing to cater to anti-semitism to gain a few recruits, posters from Eastern Europe have talked about the links between the Left and the far right, etc - none of this should be shocking or scandalous to anyone.

The comment in questionn is undeniably anti-semitic, and the fact that it was posted by a Progressive Labor supporter makes it mind boggling why anyone would give them "the benefit of the doubt" (not that there is any doubt). All the same, the way this discussion began seemed more about scoring a political point that discussing an important question; one that I fear will become more important as the crisis deepens.

h2so4
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Dec 27 2008 15:26

(Lurker decloaking)

yoshomon wrote:
I think the deeper issue, beyond the specific mystifications tossed about by this guy or that guy, is why so many Leftists are obsessed with Israel in the first place. Why is Israel talked about more by the Left than any other place on the planet? I think it finally comes down to Israel being a material manifestation of "Jewish power" that can be attacked, though most people will do all kinds of mental gymnastics to claim otherwise. The obsession is certainly not out of compassion for Palestinians (whatever that even means) because people aren't exactly burning Jordanian and Egyptian flags at rallies, or Hamas flags for that matter.

Speak for yourself yosh roll eyes . Your characterisation is nothing I would ever associate myself with.

Caiman del Barrio wrote:
...I was always told that the term Semite included Arabs too?

The term Semite applies to many groups including those generally labelled as Arab*.

Caiman del Barrio wrote:
Unfortunately the entire debate surrounding antisemitism on the left is always skewered by various factors....

Yup. And it's a pity. Even so I would love to read a decent thread that did a decent job of exploring that very topic.

*Iranians do not normally see themselves within this category.

(Edited to correct typo).

Angelus Novus
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Dec 27 2008 18:33
h2so4 wrote:
Caiman del Barrio wrote:
...I was always told that the term Semite included Arabs too?

Except that the term anti-Semitism refers specifically to Jews, since the anti-Jewish political parties in Wilhelmine Germany explicitly adopted the label "anti-Semitic" for themselves.

This lame defense is just a semantic game. "I can't possibly be anti-semitic, since my anti-Jewish sentiment doesn't extend to all semites!"

h2so4
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Dec 27 2008 22:00
revol68 wrote:
surely your fixation on anti semitism could be equally be regarded as ethnocentric/nationalist, no?

My thoughts exactly.

revol68 wrote:
Anyway the lefts hard on over Palestine and it's fixation on the sins of Israel are more to do with Israel being seen as essentially 'Western' rather than anti semtism, much like it's anti americanism it's a knee jerk kind of third world/other exoticism that infact in attacking 'the west' and holding it to a higher standard is infact simply an inverted form of white supremacy, much like the patronising notion of the noble savage. The other is infantilised into a state of innocence or victimhood, not even capable of evil or corrupting the world.

I never had any time for that type of noble savage/knee-jerk anti-imperialist stuff. One of it's most eye-boggling manifestations is that if the oppressed group in question commits an atrocity or oppresses a minority within it's realm it is somehow considered excuseable. In the process of accepting such we are equally culpable. Not my cup of tea.
Yet there still remains a genuine issue: Israel offered itself as the US enforcer over the region and continues to accept the role.

Caiman del Barrio wrote:
...to move this away from Angelus' cockwaving...
Caiman del Barrio wrote:
...I was always told that the term Semite included Arabs too?
Angelus Novus wrote:
Except that the term anti-Semitism refers specifically to Jews, since the anti-Jewish political parties in Wilhelmine Germany explicitly adopted the label "anti-Semitic" for themselves.

This lame defense is just a semantic game. "I can't possibly be anti-semitic, since my anti-Jewish sentiment doesn't extend to all semites!"

May I suggest that if we were more focused on clarifying what we mean we may get to better conclusions? Someone can rightly be called antisemitic because they are hostile to Jews just as much as they can to many other groups described as Semitic.
It's only yourself that's using sematic games as a lame defence Angelus. In it's current mainstream use yes you're correct but a more accurate recalibration of the term in specialist forums such as this is is long overdue.

Angelus Novus
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Dec 28 2008 01:39
revol68 wrote:
surely your fixation on anti semitism could be equally be regarded as ethnocentric/nationalist, no?

What "fixation" would that be? The fact that I oppose anti-semitism?

h2so4 wrote:
In it's current mainstream use yes you're correct but a more accurate recalibration of the term in specialist forums such as this is is long overdue.

Oh please. We aren't dealing with the "mainstream" understanding of the term, we're talking about the universally accepted usage as understood by anybody who isn't either an apologist for anti-semitism or a complete moron. Since I want to give you the benefit of the doubt, I'll assume you're merely the latter. So I'll assist your understanding a bit: The only time the "Arabs are semites too!" semantic fudging is ever used is to dodge the accusation of anti-semitism by playing games with the etymology of the word "semite", rather than confronting the accusation head on.

tsi
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Dec 28 2008 01:46
revol68 wrote:
Anyway the lefts hard on over Palestine and it's fixation on the sins of Israel are more to do with Israel being seen as essentially 'Western' rather than anti semtism, much like it's anti americanism it's a knee jerk kind of third world/other exoticism that infact in attacking 'the west' and holding it to a higher standard is infact simply an inverted form of white supremacy, much like the patronising notion of the noble savage.

Very much agreed.

The important thing to point out here though, at risk of sounding like a broken record, is that all this stupidity is completely and fundamentally at odds with proletarian-internationalism.

There are no ugly secrets to uncover here other than the failure to comprehend the nature of capitalism and crap politics.

Angelus Novus
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Dec 28 2008 01:48
yoshomon wrote:
The other even bigger thing is why so many here are defending the Left in the first place. Whatever happened to the communist critique of the left wing of capital? Why is it surprising that Leftists would be nationalist or anti-semitic? I don't think that the latter is fundamental to Leftism by any means, but the Left has always been just as much an enemy as the right, even if it is mostly disorganized and pitiful in most anglophone countries. In the case of the SWP and others, they are willing to cater to anti-semitism to gain a few recruits, posters from Eastern Europe have talked about the links between the Left and the far right, etc - none of this should be shocking or scandalous to anyone.

A guy named Thomas Haury published a book-length study of anti-semitism and anti-Zionism in the German Democratic Republic. One of the more interesting parts of the book is how he examines the ideology of anti-imperialism as espoused by Lenin, and how Leninist anti-imperialism is analogous in some ways to anti-semitism (though Haury does not claim that they are the same thing). In many ways, Leninist anti-imperialism is almost the oppose of Marx's understanding of capitalism, since with Marx class rule is cemented by the domination of abstract social forms, the impersonal rule of value and the state, whereas Lenin's "monopoly capital" theory assumes the dominance of a sinister cabal of monopoly lords who conspire to run governments, fix prices, star wars, etc.

Unfortunately this book has not been translated into English, although there is another text by Haury that deals with similar themes:

http://contested-terrain.net/the-logic-of-german-anti-zionism/

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Devrim
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Dec 28 2008 06:48
Angelus Novus wrote:
revol68 wrote:
surely your fixation on anti semitism could be equally be regarded as ethnocentric/nationalist, no?

What "fixation" would that be? The fact that I oppose anti-semitism?

I see a fixation on it too. I oppose anti-Semitism, but I don't have the same fixation about it.

Devrim

Caiman del Barrio
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Dec 28 2008 16:08
Angelus Novus wrote:
yoshomon wrote:
The other even bigger thing is why so many here are defending the Left in the first place. Whatever happened to the communist critique of the left wing of capital? Why is it surprising that Leftists would be nationalist or anti-semitic? I don't think that the latter is fundamental to Leftism by any means, but the Left has always been just as much an enemy as the right, even if it is mostly disorganized and pitiful in most anglophone countries. In the case of the SWP and others, they are willing to cater to anti-semitism to gain a few recruits, posters from Eastern Europe have talked about the links between the Left and the far right, etc - none of this should be shocking or scandalous to anyone.

A guy named Thomas Haury published a book-length study of anti-semitism and anti-Zionism in the German Democratic Republic. One of the more interesting parts of the book is how he examines the ideology of anti-imperialism as espoused by Lenin, and how Leninist anti-imperialism is analogous in some ways to anti-semitism (though Haury does not claim that they are the same thing). In many ways, Leninist anti-imperialism is almost the oppose of Marx's understanding of capitalism, since with Marx class rule is cemented by the domination of abstract social forms, the impersonal rule of value and the state, whereas Lenin's "monopoly capital" theory assumes the dominance of a sinister cabal of monopoly lords who conspire to run governments, fix prices, star wars, etc.

It is a definite fixation. You appear to have some sorta desperate complex with antisemitism that renders you incapable of discussing it with recourse to the sort of rationalism and analysis-based arguments that construct the main body of communist thought.

And yeah, it's ridiculous to claim that on the whole First World attitudes towards Israel are rooted in attitudes towards Jews. The thing about debates over racism is that the terminology is so loaded and accusations are explosive that it's actually very hard to discuss in concrete terms. So far Angelus has mostly made a whole load of explosive accusations and responded with mock shock to the rebuttals.

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jef costello
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Dec 28 2008 14:29
Angelus Novus wrote:
A guy named Thomas Haury published a book-length study of anti-semitism and anti-Zionism in the German Democratic Republic. One of the more interesting parts of the book is how he examines the ideology of anti-imperialism as espoused by Lenin, and how Leninist anti-imperialism is analogous in some ways to anti-semitism (though Haury does not claim that they are the same thing). In many ways, Leninist anti-imperialism is almost the oppose of Marx's understanding of capitalism, since with Marx class rule is cemented by the domination of abstract social forms, the impersonal rule of value and the state, whereas Lenin's "monopoly capital" theory assumes the dominance of a sinister cabal of monopoly lords who conspire to run governments, fix prices, star wars, etc.

Unfortunately this book has not been translated into English, although there is another text by Haury that deals with similar themes:

http://contested-terrain.net/the-logic-of-german-anti-zionism/

That does sound as if it could be interesting I'll have a look at the article you've linked to although the name suggests it will be dodgy.

Quote:
So I'll assist your understanding a bit: The only time the "Arabs are semites too!" semantic fudging is ever used is to dodge the accusation of anti-semitism by playing games with the etymology of the word "semite", rather than confronting the accusation head on.

People using the actual origin of a word to define its meaning is pretty underhand. It's not semantic fudging it's undermining the idea of nationalism. In the same way as many jewish/israeli nationalists are distinctly less semitic than the arabs that they have displaced, pointing out the failures of the internal logic of nationalism is a good thing. In this specific example I would expect a decent internationalist to stop at this point and not to go further and say that the palestinians have a 'right' to be there and the israelis/jews don't. That is the form of anti-semitism that I have seen the most often although I would call it third-worldism or palestinian nationalism, or just plain poor grasp of politics. This rhetoric of the imperialist and the poor people driven off their land is far more to do with anti-israel sentiment (as has been said above) than anti-semitism, which in all honesty is something you rarely see in contemporary Britain, except for the muslim population and again that is largely due to a conflation of the jews and israel.

I've put 'israelis/jews' because they are separate categories that are often conflated by nationalists on both 'sides'.

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cantdocartwheels
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Dec 28 2008 15:12

Yeah to be fair have to agree with jef there, the rather obseesive level of anti-israel sentiment on the liberal-left is generally motivated by third worldism. Afterall in a third worldist mindset the israelis are the evil white ''colonialists'' and the palestinians are the poor brown ''natives'', who thus have a right to their ''stolen land'' in the same way that the aborigines do.
Its fairly self evident that this type of ''anti-imperialism'' seems pretty well ingrained in the left (certainly I remember having quite a few sympathies that way back when i was a student) so trying to concoct some far fetched conspiracy about how the entire left is secretly anti-semetic is just completely missing the point.

Caiman del Barrio
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Dec 28 2008 16:08
jef costello wrote:
People using the actual origin of a word to define its meaning is pretty underhand. It's not semantic fudging it's undermining the idea of nationalism. In the same way as many jewish/israeli nationalists are distinctly less semitic than the arabs that they have displaced, pointing out the failures of the internal logic of nationalism is a good thing. In this specific example I would expect a decent internationalist to stop at this point and not to go further and say that the palestinians have a 'right' to be there and the israelis/jews don't. That is the form of anti-semitism that I have seen the most often although I would call it third-worldism or palestinian nationalism, or just plain poor grasp of politics. This rhetoric of the imperialist and the poor people driven off their land is far more to do with anti-israel sentiment (as has been said above) than anti-semitism, which in all honesty is something you rarely see in contemporary Britain, except for the muslim population and again that is largely due to a conflation of the jews and israel.

I can't figure out if the opening sentence is sarcastic or not.

For the record, if you're gonna throw around loaded terminology around like tennis balls - especially with regards to racism - it's probably best that everyone understands exactly what you're referring to first.

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jef costello
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Dec 28 2008 16:13
Caiman del Barrio wrote:
I can't figure out if the opening sentence is sarcastic or not

It is.

h2so4
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Dec 28 2008 18:42

My attempt at trying to get to the underlying issue by examining the terminology was done entirely in good faith. I'm out of here.

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jef costello
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Dec 28 2008 19:22
h2so4 wrote:
My attempt at trying to get to the underlying issue by examining the terminology was done entirely in good faith. I'm out of here.

hopefully you're just talking about this thread

Angelus Novus
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Dec 29 2008 02:48
Caiman del Barrio wrote:
It is a definite fixation. You appear to have some sorta desperate complex with antisemitism that renders you incapable of blah blah blah

Whatever. You want to run with this, then go ahead, but I won't get sucked into a conversation concerning my alleged motivations.

Ciao.

akai
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Dec 29 2008 03:05

In terms of antisemitism on the left, now is an interesting time to keep an eye out for examples of it since there is going to be a lot more criticial material on Israel in the next few days. I haven't seem anything too bad so far.

Angelus Novus
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Dec 29 2008 03:18
laureakai wrote:
I haven't seem anything too bad so far.

The worst thing I've seen so far is an "editorial cartoon" by Carlos Latuff, a participant in the "Holocaust Cartoon" contest sponsered by the Iranian regime, on (Washington) D.C. Indymedia.

With that exception, though, there hasn't been any manifest anti-Semitism I've seen. But I'm cynical enough not to expect things to stay that way.

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Tojiah
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Dec 29 2008 19:21

There's been a lot of racist bloodlust among Israelis, mind. Not sure if that's the kind of anti-semitism you're talking about, though.

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jef costello
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Dec 29 2008 19:39

intra-semitic anti-semitism?

yoshomon
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Dec 30 2008 19:30
Angelus Novus wrote:
laureakai wrote:
I haven't seem anything too bad so far.

The worst thing I've seen so far is an "editorial cartoon" by Carlos Latuff, a participant in the "Holocaust Cartoon" contest sponsered by the Iranian regime, on (Washington) D.C. Indymedia.

With that exception, though, there hasn't been any manifest anti-Semitism I've seen. But I'm cynical enough not to expect things to stay that way.

I wonder if Latuff is still pushed by infoshop.org. For a while they ran his pro-suicide bombing cartoon on the front page.

Angelus Novus
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Jan 2 2009 10:01
yoshomon wrote:
or a while they ran his pro-suicide bombing cartoon on the front page.

Infoshop = anarcho-liberalism.

no1
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Jan 2 2009 15:05
yoshomon wrote:
I think the deeper issue, beyond the specific mystifications tossed about by this guy or that guy, is why so many Leftists are obsessed with Israel in the first place. Why is Israel talked about more by the Left than any other place on the planet? I think it finally comes down to Israel being a material manifestation of "Jewish power" that can be attacked, though most people will do all kinds of mental gymnastics to claim otherwise.

Can you point to any evidence to support this claim? There are quite a few sound reasons why Western leftists would concern themselves with Israel:
* it's on the news a lot.
* The brutality of a high-tech nation making war on one of the poorest populations in the world, the hypocrisy of doing so in the name of democracy, the arrogance of cultural superiority, all these are pretty blatant in Israel, so Western leftists see in Israel the things they dislike most about their own society.
* Israel couldn't exist for 5 minutes in its present form without Western and especially US support.
* Western propaganda portrays Islamists usually as irrational beasts fanatically opposed to 'Western culture' for no apparent reason, but one of the main reasons Islamism has gained traction among Muslims is the I-P conflict and Western support of Israel. So those Westerners who reject that propaganda and notions of the War on Terror and the Clash of Civilisations will quite naturally be interested in Israel.
* historical baggage. Zionism is originally a reaction to European anti-semitism that distinguished itself by agreeing with the core anti-semitic notion that Jews were not a part of European society and should be expelled/emigrate. Zionism only gained support of the majority of Jews as a result of the holocaust. Then there's of course the Balfour declaration, the British mandate of Palestine etc. So the creation of the Zionist state is a direct result of what happened in Europe, and it is quite natural for opponents of anti-semitism with some historical knowledge and a sense of responsibility/guilt to take an interest.

mK ultra wrote:
Petras echos a view commonly held among government critics here: US support for Israel is not in the interest of US power, Israel as well as US Jews are manipulating the US government to support Israel.

It's amazing how common this view is, even among people who otherwise have good politics. I think in most cases it can't be blamed on an individual's prejudice against Jews, but it certainly opens the door to a whole range of reactionary ideas.

That's pretty worrying. It's not the same in the UK at least not among leftists I know. I think it's linked to a decline in a Marxist/class-based understanding of things, and a rise in conspiracy theories.

yoshomon
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Jan 2 2009 19:21
no1 wrote:
Can you point to any evidence to support this claim? There are quite a few sound reasons why Western leftists would concern themselves with Israel:
* it's on the news a lot.
* The brutality of a high-tech nation making war on one of the poorest populations in the world, the hypocrisy of doing so in the name of democracy, the arrogance of cultural superiority, all these are pretty blatant in Israel, so Western leftists see in Israel the things they dislike most about their own society.
* Israel couldn't exist for 5 minutes in its present form without Western and especially US support.
* Western propaganda portrays Islamists usually as irrational beasts fanatically opposed to 'Western culture' for no apparent reason, but one of the main reasons Islamism has gained traction among Muslims is the I-P conflict and Western support of Israel. So those Westerners who reject that propaganda and notions of the War on Terror and the Clash of Civilisations will quite naturally be interested in Israel.
* historical baggage. Zionism is originally a reaction to European anti-semitism that distinguished itself by agreeing with the core anti-semitic notion that Jews were not a part of European society and should be expelled/emigrate. Zionism only gained support of the majority of Jews as a result of the holocaust. Then there's of course the Balfour declaration, the British mandate of Palestine etc. So the creation of the Zionist state is a direct result of what happened in Europe, and it is quite natural for opponents of anti-semitism with some historical knowledge and a sense of responsibility/guilt to take an interest.

What about Egypt? I gets tons of US funding and is directly involved in the repression of Palestinians (in its control of the Gaza border), not to mention being controlled by a dictator since the early 80's with all the fun stuff that comes along with that. Even Mexico, which gets tons of US funding, directly borders on the south of the country, etc is talked about far less than Israel.

If I were to produce pamphlets or organize demonstrations about Mexico, Pakistan, Egypt, etc in the same way Leftists do about Israel, people would look at me like I was crazy.

Angelus Novus
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Jan 2 2009 20:43

What is useful about yoshomon's post is that he argues rather convincingly that even according to the shitty nationalist logic of the left, the obsession with Israel is creepy and loopy. That is to say, even if one holds the contemptible position that the territorial claims of competing national entities is a valid sphere of intervention for communists, the focus on Israel is rather disproportionate.

Check out the front page of MRZine, the webzine of Monthly Review, which we can regard as more or less representative for a certain broad left "thinks of itself as socialist" demographic. Its overflowing in fucking demo reports from various locations, like its fucking Indymedia or something, rather than the analytical or opinion pieces that are its usual fare.

And even assuming you're one of the smelly dreadlocked tree-hugging types who regard the U.S. as the fount of all evil in the world and thus focus on Israel because it's a major U.S. ally, as yoshomon points out, there is an endless stream of U.S. allies that you can take your pick of. Take Turkey, for instance. Turkey's treatment of the Kurds is no less vile from a humanitarian perspective. But I doubt that most obsessive Indymedia-type leftist even follow events in Turkey with any sort of regularity, not to even speak of the hysterical organization of demos, regular evocations of National Socialist Germany, quick and easy use of the word "genocide" that always pops up in the case of Israel.

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Django
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Jan 2 2009 21:11

Its also pretty inconceivable that you'd find anyone arguing that Turkey or Mexico effectively control US policy through powerful lobbies, to the detriment of the 'American people' and the national interest. Or that these countries are pulling the strings behind inter-imperialist conflicts in say, the Caucasus, in order to advance their own interests over those of the superpower. It was pretty shocking how quickly Israel was blamed for the South Ossetia war last year on UK Indymedia.

That kind of tail-wagging-the-doggery is reserved for Israel in a way that is certainly very creepy, but unsurprising given the lack of class analysis and prevalence of conspiracy theories amongst the broad left. The lack of class analysis isn't that surprising also given their vicarious arab nationalism and desire to link up with the 'Muslim community'.

Caiman del Barrio
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Jan 2 2009 21:24

To be fair, could it not have more to do with:

-the (majority) western/First World ancestry and perceived culture of Israeli Jews (ie Third Worldism in the liberal left)?
-the First World's complicity in the creation of Israel (ditto)?
-the temporal proximity of the Israeli state (ie people still remembering a world pre-Israel and therefore being easily malleable into human content stories or whatever they're called)?
-the fact that this territory is revered by three of the world's most popular religions (that's very important actually)?
-I'll let others add more

Oh no wait it's cos everyone irrationally hates Jews.

Perhaps Devrim can comment concerning the comparisons with Kurds in Turkey. I'm not sure why the Mexico analogy's being made...its attitude towards ethnic minorities within its borders is actually much more distinctive and nuanced. I think the liberal left gives it a shitload of inches though, look at how many utterly uninformative dry narratives there are of the Zapatistas and even fuckin Oaxaca.

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Joseph Kay
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Jan 2 2009 21:55

i think revol made a good point earlier in the thread that Israel is perceived (and promotes itself) as a white, european liberal democracy ('the only democracy in the middle east'), and so the inverted racism of white mans burden leftists comes into play as Israel is held to a higher standard than say Turkey, Pakistan, Egypt or Saudi (those uncivilised darkies are expected to savage one another). i think it's as much ressentiment as anti-semitism, although the two probably merge into a general anti-israel discourse (i.e. white-guilt leftists won't see anything wrong with the crap james petras writes, so it passes without criticism into the discourse).

no1
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Jan 2 2009 22:24
yoshomon wrote:
no1 wrote:
There are quite a few sound reasons why Western leftists would concern themselves with Israel:
* it's on the news a lot.
* The brutality of a high-tech nation making war on one of the poorest populations in the world, the hypocrisy of doing so in the name of democracy, the arrogance of cultural superiority, all these are pretty blatant in Israel, so Western leftists see in Israel the things they dislike most about their own society.
* Israel couldn't exist for 5 minutes in its present form without Western and especially US support.
* Western propaganda portrays Islamists usually as irrational beasts fanatically opposed to 'Western culture' for no apparent reason, but one of the main reasons Islamism has gained traction among Muslims is the I-P conflict and Western support of Israel. So those Westerners who reject that propaganda and notions of the War on Terror and the Clash of Civilisations will quite naturally be interested in Israel.
* historical baggage. Zionism is originally a reaction to European anti-semitism that distinguished itself by agreeing with the core anti-semitic notion that Jews were not a part of European society and should be expelled/emigrate. Zionism only gained support of the majority of Jews as a result of the holocaust. Then there's of course the Balfour declaration, the British mandate of Palestine etc. So the creation of the Zionist state is a direct result of what happened in Europe, and it is quite natural for opponents of anti-semitism with some historical knowledge and a sense of responsibility/guilt to take an interest.

What about Egypt? I gets tons of US funding and is directly involved in the repression of Palestinians (in its control of the Gaza border), not to mention being controlled by a dictator since the early 80's with all the fun stuff that comes along with that. Even Mexico, which gets tons of US funding, directly borders on the south of the country, etc is talked about far less than Israel.

I feel the examples you give support my view, since they only share one of the 5 characteristics with Israel. Also, the more obvious difference is that neither Egypt nor Mexico maintain ~3 million people who they define as ethnically different under occupation.

Angelus Novus wrote:
[...] even according to the shitty nationalist logic of the left, the obsession with Israel is creepy and loopy.

What is your explanation for anti-semitism being supposedly rampant on the left? Anti-semitism has been an important phenomenon esp. in Europe until WW2 because it fulfilled an important function for the ruling elites. Since then racism has been fought relatively successfully, also by the left. According to you, why would anti-semitism as a special form persist on the left, and what function could it play for the left that would explain it's supposed prevalence?

Django wrote:
Its also pretty inconceivable that you'd find anyone arguing that Turkey or Mexico effectively control US policy through powerful lobbies, to the detriment of the 'American people' and the national interest. Or that these countries are pulling the strings behind inter-imperialist conflicts in say, the Caucasus, in order to advance their own interests over those of the superpower. It was pretty shocking how quickly Israel was blamed for the South Ossetia war last year on UK Indymedia.

That kind of tail-wagging-the-doggery is reserved for Israel in a way that is certainly very creepy, but unsurprising given the lack of class analysis and prevalence of conspiracy theories amongst the broad left. The lack of class analysis isn't that surprising also given their vicarious arab nationalism and desire to link up with the 'Muslim community'.

I dont think you can include conspiracy theorists as part of the left. People who start believing in conspiracy theories usually move pretty quickly to the far right.

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Jan 3 2009 12:44
AN wrote:
Take Turkey, for instance. Turkey's treatment of the Kurds is no less vile from a humanitarian perspective. But I doubt that most obsessive Indymedia-type leftist even follow events in Turkey with any sort of regularity, not to even speak of the hysterical organization of demos, regular evocations of National Socialist Germany, quick and easy use of the word "genocide" that always pops up in the case of Israel.
Caiman del Barrio wrote:
Perhaps Devrim can comment concerning the comparisons with Kurds in Turkey.

The Turkish state had in the past a vicious anti-Kurdish policy. At one point the language was forbidden, about 3,000 villages were destroyed, and nearly 45,000 people have died in the war.

For various reasons Turkey doesn't get the same media coverage as Israel. For example at the start of October, 15 Turkish soldiers were killed in a single attack. I doubt many people on here were aware of this.I am sure that if they had been Israel soldiers more people would be.

I don't think that the reason for this are solely concerned with leftists though. The Turkish state would love to bring international attention and sympathy to its 'struggle against terrorism'. For whatever reasons it fails.

Another point is whether 'Turkey's treatment of the Kurds is no less vile from a humanitarian perspective'. Without going into a who is worse argument, the scenes that we see today in Israel/Palestine are worse than anything that we have seen in Turkey. We never saw hundreds killed in a matter of days. Now we could argue that this is due to things like population density in Gaza. I don't think that the Israel state is theoretically worse than the Turkish state, but I can understand how murder on this scale attracts the world's horror.

Devrim