Anti-semitism amongst the left and anarchists

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yoshomon
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Jan 8 2009 14:51

I'm not sure which Maoist/Stalinist group is pushing that line.

Angelus Novus
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Jan 9 2009 03:48

yoshomon,

thanks for the links to the richard grant stuff. Every time I think I'm totally jaded and cynical about the left, something like this stabs me in the eye.

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Rob Ray
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Jan 9 2009 10:40
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On the other hand, if you want definitions, you have the entire internets and the dictionaries and wikis it contains to find them

You're the one trying to communicate ideas though, not him, so it's mostly your responsibility to help him understand - might be worth, if you've got a very specific word, linking to a url yourself rather than expecting every reader to do their own search etc.

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IlanS
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Jan 19 2009 22:32

As people quote Chomsky about the pro-Israeli lobby, it seems the participating in the polemic agree that a Jew can write and discuss the subject.

Following this tolerance, I state first that I am Israeli and have all the privileges of a Jew in my country and hope it also extend to Libcom....

Second, I will refer to the following question:

"I've had enough of this, all I want to know is what "Jewish economic lobby" is supposed to mean."

The text was a translation from Italian, and "Jewish economic lobby" was probably a poor translation. Any way, it was probably meant that there is a pro Israeli lobby many of the very rich Jews of of US participate in.

In the discussion in ABC about the nature of the pro-Israeli lobby it was pointed that the Jewish part of the lobby is wider than the group of very rich Jews of US (few of them are the ones who contribute so much for the settler colonialist projects in the west bank, and to the extreme political right of Israel.) In the discussion it was pointed that the leadership of the Jewish organized communities that support Israel is much wider than the rich Jews lobby.

In the discussion it was also mentioned that the lobby include the fundamentalist Evangelists (and we do not really know what is their share to the power of the pro Israeli lobby(s).

Thus, the correction was to the more accurate "pro Israeli lobby" and not to "Zionist-lobby which seems too Jewish (among other things).

Now is the more sensitive point - the relative strength of that lobby.
The anti-Semites will exaggerate its power and restrict it to the very rich Jews.
The anti-Germans (AD) and others who afraid to be regarded as anti-Semites or that it will promote antisemitism dismiss the claim that the lobby have any significant influence.

Now comes the most sensitive point. In Israel, the media report on many successes of the pro-Israeli lobby (some times it even rings as exaggeration). Akiva Eldar, one of the most respected journalists here wrote lately an article in the respected daily Haaretz
http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/1056660.html stressing the influence of the lobby even when contradicting US interests.

Following two contradicting opinions:
1)
If the agenda advocated by the Israel lobby was substantially at variance with U.S. foreign policy elsewhere in the world, one could make a strong case that these lobbyists were influential. However, that is simply not the case. This is why some of the most outspoken opponents of U.S. foreign policy in general and of U.S. support for Israel in particular—such as Noam Chomsky, Phyllis Bennis, Mitchell Plitnick, Simona Sharoni, Joseph Massad, Steve Niva, and Norman Finkelstein—have raised serious questions about the supposed power of the Israel lobby, noting that it is responsible, in the words of Professor Massad, for “the details and intensity but not the direction, content, or impact of such policies.”

2)
When it comes to U.S. policy toward Israel and Palestine, groups like the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) and its related political action committees (PACs) have certainly influenced some members of Congress as well as some decision-makers in both Republican and Democratic administrations. Moreover, mainstream and conservative Jewish organizations have mobilized considerable lobbying resources, financial contributions from the Jewish community, and citizen pressure on the news media and other forums of public discourse in support of the Israeli government. At times, they have even created a climate of intimidation against many who speak out for peace and human rights or who support the Palestinians' right of self-determination. But all this is very different from claiming that the Israel lobby is primarily responsible for U.S. policy in the Middle East, even when it comes to Israel.

administrations of both parties have repeatedly proven themselves capable of acting contrary to long-term national interests without the Israel lobby forcing them to do so.
--------------------------------------------------------

As there is no such thing as unified "US interest", and there are contradicting powers with conflicts within them, and power struggles, it seems the information and opinions in the Israeli media about the strength of the pro Israeli lobby is not exaggeration too much.

nestor.mcnab
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Jan 20 2009 09:49
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As far as the USA is concerned, there is no doubt. Apart from the important strategic and territorial alliance that Israel represents for American imperialism in the Middle East, it also has to deal with the powerful US Jewish economic lobby, which is strong enough to bring about a strong influence on US foreign policy. And what is happening today comes across as a clear warning to the president-elect, Obama.

What ddid they proposed here? They write that the USA has to "deal with" the "Jewish economic lobby" - this implies conflict. So not only do they argue that "powerful US Jew(s)" has "strong influence on US foreign policy", they argue that this influence is exerted against the interests of the US state.

Sorry, Yoshomon, but that is simply a distorted reading of what the statement actually says. The expression "they have to deal with" is not intended to mean something like "enter conflict and seek to defeat", it means deal with, get along with, have to "put up" with lobbying from, be required to take into consideration.

So in no way whatsoever are the FdCA arguing that powerful US Jews exert influence on the US against the interests of the US state. Indeed as it has been pointed out many times elsewhere (Stephen ZUnes, for example and I think CHomsky), whenever the Israel lobby has lobbied for a certain policy that was judged to be against US interests, the US executive simply ignored them.

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Even without that paragraph, it puts forward a nationalist position on the war

This claim of yours, on the other hand, is pure malice and fantasy.

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Django
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Jan 20 2009 12:30
Nestor Mcnab wrote:
Sorry, Yoshomon, but that is simply a distorted reading of what the statement actually says. The expression "they have to deal with" is not intended to mean something like "enter conflict and seek to defeat", it means deal with, get along with, have to "put up" with lobbying from, be required to take into consideration.

So in no way whatsoever are the FdCA arguing that powerful US Jews exert influence on the US against the interests of the US state. Indeed as it has been pointed out many times elsewhere (Stephen ZUnes, for example and I think CHomsky), whenever the Israel lobby has lobbied for a certain policy that was judged to be against US interests, the US executive simply ignored them.

Have you read what it actually says though?:

Quote:
FdCA statement
As far as the USA is concerned, there is no doubt. Apart from the important strategic and territorial alliance that Israel represents for American imperialism in the Middle East, it also has to deal with the powerful US Jewish economic lobby, which is strong enough to bring about a stong influence on US foreign policy.
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Revised FcCA statement
As far as the USA is concerned, there is no doubt. Apart from the important strategic and territorial alliance that Israel represents for American imperialism in the Middle East, it also has to deal with the powerful US pro-Israel lobby, which is strong enough to bring about an influence on US foreign policy

Thats very clearly saying that besides the US having an imperative to further its own strategic, imperial interests, the Israel lobby has a "strong influence" over US foreign policy. Its perfectly clear that FdCA were/are "arguing that powerful US Jews exert influence on the US against the interests of the US state". I don't see how it can be read to say the opposite of what it patently is.

yoshomon
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Feb 20 2009 20:00

http://news.infoshop.org/article.php?story=20090218205140774

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African Americans must take a leadership role in the movement to boycott and disinvest in Israel, both for reasons of elemental justice and to defend our own people from the raging right-wing, corporate assault, of which the pro-Israel lobby is an integral component. If solidarity with Palestinians who suffer the aggressions of a regime as fundamentally racist as apartheid South Africa is not a compelling enough reason — and it surely is — then self-defense against Zionist subversion of domestic Black politics should move us to action. There can be no prospect of global peace or domestic progress while Israel runs amok in the Mid-East and its operatives wreak havoc in the African American political arena.

The above article argues that the Israel lobby oppresses black people in the United States and originates on a website that defends Holocaust denial. Not surprisingly, comments attacking the "Israel lobby thesis" have been deleted by Chuck.

Conspiracy theories about "Jewish operatives" unseating former congresswoman Cynthia McKinney are fairly popular in some corners of the Left.

no1
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Sep 27 2009 18:14

I argued on this thread that anti-semitism doesn't really exist on the left. Well, there's recently been a shockingly anti-semitic article on counterpunch. Counterpunch have published some pretty dodgy 'anti-zionist' stuff before, but this article by Alison Weir of 'If Americans Knew' takes up a number of cases of clinical malpractice in Israel, to then go on and make the case that Israeli soldiers have been abducting and murdering Palestinians in Gaza to harvest their organs, to finally resurrect the blood libel (the medieval myth that Jews engaged in human sacrifice of Gentiles). The article has been debunked here.

RedHughs
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Sep 27 2009 21:32

Hmm,

Leftists and rightest generally fall into the larger category of nationalists.

Pro-Israeli nationalists are generally happy to slant their positions against any and all enemies of Israel, whether these be left, right or center. In their case, it helps to lump all of them together as fascists. And aiming to influence the left, it further helps to revive all of the left's moralistic anti-fascist myths and to play on antisemitism as not just racism but an utterly unique form of racism.

Similarly, Pro-Palestinian nationalists on the left are often quite willing to ignore the 'problems' of Hamas etc. and go above and beyond any neutrality in their zeal to attack Israel and disputing any connection of their activity to anti-jewish racism when such connections certainly are there.

But none of this is "shocking" in the sense of involving any interruption of capitalism's usual patterns of ideological discourse and control. Virtually every form of nationalism has involved a strong element of racism. Most people on the mainstream left (and the center and right ) have aligned themselves with one or another forms of nationalism. Of course, there are an infinity of different shadings within this morass. Some nationalisms are much stronger than other nationalisms just as some nations are much stronger than other nations. However, the communist response can still only be "a pox on all your house" rather than an effort to sort out one or another better or worse actors. cf "When Insurrections Die"/"Fascism/anti-fascism".