Gilad Atzmon Meeting Cancelled

There was an excellent opinion piece recently in the Brighton Argus by Jean Calder.

Gilad Atzmon had been intending to speak in Brightoin at a community centre, but the event was cancelled due to concerns about Atzmon’s anti-semitism. As the Brighton Argus reported:

” A man accused of anti-semitism has been forced to cancel a speech at a church over fears it could whip up religious hatred. Event organiser Dr Francis Clark-Lowes cancelled his booking at the Brighthelm Centre, in North Road, Brighton, for the talk by Gilad Atzmon.

Tony Greenstein, of the Brighton and Hove Unemployed Workers Centre, said Atzmon would have faced a major protest outside the building had he tried to enter.

Mr Greenstein said: “Despite his abhorrent views, we did not call for the meeting to be cancelled. We wanted him to face as large a picket as possible in order that he should understand the depth of opposition.
Nonetheless we welcome the fact that Brighthelm has cancelled this meeting as church premises are probably the least appropriate venue for a meeting of this kind.”

Here is Jean Calder’s piece, from the The Argus, first published Saturday 29th Dec 2007.

Those who campaign for the rights of Palestinians are rightly incensed by the frequency with which they are falsely accused of “anti-semitism”. They point out that criticism of the actions of the Israeli government and the Zionists who sustain and support it is not anti-semitic.

However, the fact that false allegations of anti-Semitism are often made against those who criticise the Israeli state does not mean that anti-Zionists are not also sometimes anti-semitic. Or that those who oppose Zionism can cease to be vigilant about the allies they choose to stand alongside.

Repeated groundless accusations of anti-Semitism may make people careless and consequently less likely to take allegations seriously, especially when they are levelled against those who do not fit the usual profile of an anti- Semite. And so, just as the boy who cried wolf eventually came face to face with a real live wolf, the same may be true about anti-Semitism.

On January 7, the Brighthelm Church and Community Centre will host a talk by Gilad Atzmon.

An ex-Israeli, Atzmon is a talented jazz player who proclaims his support for the Palestinians. Unfortunately, the terms in which he does so echo much of the language of anti-Semitism He insists “there is no anti- Semitism any more”, suggesting that acts of violence against Jews should be understood as political rather than racist acts.

Despite the fact that he rejects Zionism – which wrongly claims to speak for all the Jewish people – Atzmon perversely holds all Jewish people responsible for the actions of the Israeli state.

He writes: “If Israel is the state of the Jewish people and the Jewish people do not stand up collectively against the crimes that are being committed on their behalf, then every Jewish person, Jewish symbol and Jewish object becomes an Israeli interest and a potential terrorist target. It is up to the Jewish people to take a stand against their Jewish state and to dissociate themselves from their zealous national movement”.

At a talk given at the School of Oriental and African Studies, he is reported to have said: “I’m not going to say whether it is right or not to burn down a synagogue. I can see that it is a rational act”.

The idea that Jews are “Christ killers” is one that is particularly close to the heart of anti-Semites and was the foundation stone of the Reich Church, the pro-Nazi section of the Baptist Church in Germany in the 1930s.

Atzmon wrote: “I would suggest that perhaps we should face it once and for all: the Jews were responsible for the killing of Jesus.” He says: “Why is it that the Jews who repeatedly demand that the Christian world should apologise for its involvement in previous persecutions have never thought that it is about time that they apologised for killing Jesus?”

In the same essay, Atzmon explained that “we must begin to take the accusation that Zionists are trying to control the world very seriously.”

The Protocols Of The Elders Of Zion was a forgery concocted by the pre-revolutionary Czarist secret police in Russia but was treated by the Nazi Party as a foundation stone of their beliefs. Hitler knew it to be a forgery, but ignored this because he considered true the basic allegation that Jews were attempting to control the world.

Distressingly, Atzmon seems to agree.

He points to the number of Jewish people in the Bush and Clinton administrations and asks: “Is the suggestion of conspiracy really an empty accusation?” He adds: “American Jewry makes any debate on whether the Protocols of the elder of Zion are an authentic document or rather a forgery irrelevant.

American Jews do try to control the world, by proxy”

Perhaps most worrying is his statement that “Israel’s behaviour throws some light on the persecution of the Jews throughout history.”

I find it profoundly shocking that anyone who professes concern for human rights should suggest that centuries of anti-Semitic pogroms and persecution by Christians were to any extent provoked by the behaviour of the people who suffered them.

To its credit, the Palestine Solidarity Campaign in Brighton has apparently refused to support or sponsor the meeting but it is nonetheless going ahead – almost certainly organised by people acting in good conscience.

Had Atzmon’s views been expressed by, for example, a member of the BNP I venture to doubt that he or she would be speaking publicly in Brighton.

It seems wrong that such views may be heard in a Christian community centre, in a city with a proud history of anti-racist organisation – apparently without protest – just because the speaker claims to support the embattled Palestinian people.

argus-atzmon-jean-calder-pe-2-29-12-07.jpg

136 comments on “Gilad Atzmon Meeting Cancelled

  1. Adam J on said:

    I don’t actually think that Atzmon is an anti-semite, I think he’s just mad and extremely eccentric. A shame if he just stuck to playing music he is a very talented political artist

  2. goodwin sands on said:

    He’s a wind-up artist who gets his jollies from saying anti-Semitic things and then pleading persecution and martyrdom when he’s caught out by his own words. Perhaps he’s doing it for a strange psychological thrill, but the fact remains that those anti-Semitic words do get said, do go out into the internet over his name, and are inexplicably defended by a cadre that should know better.

  3. Alex Naysmith on said:

    That’s the first time in my post-SWP days that I’ve read some of the controversies of Gilad Atzmon. If any of those accusations are true – that he expressed beliefs in a global Jewish conspiracy; infers the causes of Jewish persecution as something integral to Jewish ethnicity i.e. ‘they bring it on themselves’; holds all Jews responsible for the state of Israel – then what the f**k was/is Martin Smith or the rest of them thinking?? I had heard that Gilad was ‘a bit iffy’, but as his gigs were promoted on SW so I assumed he couldn’t have been all that bad.

    The allegation that ‘Jews run the world’ is unsubstantiated nonsense, and all too common I’m afraid. We should give anyone who echoes those sorts of prejudices a wide berth indeed. This is really basic stuff.

  4. someone on said:

    why have you closed the comments on the december stats thread- this sort of censorship is disgusting

  5. Indy media claims the meeting has gone ahead and the article lays into Tony in a fairly barking way

    ‘Gilad Atzmon is an important intellectual and artist whose actions in solidarity with the Palestinians have done more in the past few years than the grand sum of Greenstein’s actions ever achieved. Greenstein’s tantrums are certainly harmful to focus the Palestine solidarity actions, and if a pipsqueak like Greenstein insists on carrying on his vendetta against Atzmon, then the best would be for him to do so openly and in a civil manner. If he doesn’t pursue this course, then the best thing is to relegate Greenstein to the shadows where he more rightfully belongs’

    http://www.indymedia.org.uk/en/2008/01/388930.html

    depressing!

  6. goodwin sands on said:

    Question: then what the f**k was/is Martin Smith or the rest of them thinking??

    Answer: “He makes us money.”

  7. Jock McTrousers on said:

    ” I find it profoundly shocking that anyone who professes concern for human rights should suggest that centuries of anti-Semitic pogroms and persecution by Christians were to any extent provoked by the behaviour of the people who suffered them.”

    That sounds like inverted anti-semitism to me. Are the Jews the only people in history without bad points? What about Poland, where the Jews were the intermediaries for the landlords and were loathed for their brutality? Both Hannah Arendt and Israel Shahak make arguments that there were times and places when there were good reasons for the Jews being persecuted. Atzmon is a little less measured in his approach, but to call him an anti-semite is ridiculous. This is just holier than thou posturing, and an invitation to purge the Palestine Solidarity movement of anyone who doesn’t think the Jews are the most wonderful, clever, kind people who ever lived. Of course the Protocols were a forgery, but do Jews (some Jews, not all Jews) not have almost total control of international banking, and does their lobby (and let’s not pretend that these bankers don’t direct the lobby) have at least a dominance in US power circles? Are we supposed to pretend not to notice this for fear of being called an anti-semite or a nazi? Well, I’m afraid that’s what the writer of this article does expect us to do, which makes me wonder what side he’s on.
    And who cares what Aardvaarkovitch thinks or says? Please!

    Tony Greenstein’s usually alright, though; but I think he’s wrong about Atzmon.

  8. goodwin sands on said:

    Of course the Protocols were a forgery, but do Jews (some Jews, not all Jews) not have almost total control of international banking, and does their lobby (and let’s not pretend that these bankers don’t direct the lobby) have at least a dominance in US power circles?

    Ah, international banking and the American government are in Jewish hands. Thank you for this insight.

  9. Ian Donovan on said:

    Well, I am neutral, I think both sides are slandering each other, both are committed anti-racists and supporters of the Palestinians. Atzmon is overreacting in disgust and in a not-entirely-rational manner against the quasi-totalitarian Israeli racism that has been inculcated into him from childhood. He describes himself as a Hebrew-speaking Palestinian, and whether you like it or not, he and his co-thinkers do have respect in the Palestinian solidarity movement.

    His kind of one-sided rejection of what he sees as a racist Jewish identity is analogous to those Afrikaners who utterly rejected their own culture under apartheid. The rather more complex history of the Jews makes this problematic, but I guess that this is hardly a priority from his standpoint.

    Tony is overreacting to that overreaction. This somewhat contradicts his own belief, often stated, that anti-semitism is an obsolete prejudice of marginal importance today. I’m not entirely sure that anti-semitism is quite as dead as Tony sometimes claims, but I don’t think any real threat of a revived anti-semitism comes from idiosyncratic Israeli leftists like Atzmon. Gilad Atzmon and Tony Greenstein have more in common than they think they do, and this is a bizarre and pointless quarrel.

  10. goodwin sands on said:

    @11 Why do you think that is

    Indymedia is paralysed by unanimous consent decisionmaking. A collective that divides over a post means the post stays up. All you need one editor who says, “so what’s so anti-semitic about Mein Kampf anyhow” and the rest of the collective has to go along and publish it. The collective had an enormous row over Atzmon not too long ago, many wanting to chuck him out — but it wasn’t unanimous, so he stays, stinking up the site.

    @12 Well, I am neutral

    Pleased to meet you. I am Marie of Roumania.

  11. Michael Rosen was interviewed in the June 2007 issue of Jewish Socialist about this, it is worth trying to get a copy (I don’t think it is on the web)

    Atzmon’s conclusion is to “re-define Zionism as a modern form of Jewish activism which aims at halting assimilation, we can then re-asses the entire Jewish tribal political activity as an internal debate within a diverse Zionist political movement. We should then regard the colonizing of Palestine as not more than just one single face of Zionism. In fact, Jewish Socialism fits very nicely into the Zionist project. Being an integral part of the Zionist network, it is concerned with the future of the Jewish secular tribe, it is there to collect the lost souls amongst the Jewish leftists and it brings them back to Blooms. The shift towards presenting Zionism in a new terminology invites us to regard Zionism as global Jewish tribal political activism.”

    In Jewish Socialist, Michael Rosen reposts by saying: “They end up doing what both classic anti-Semites and Zionists do, which is to make one big generalised lump of ‘Jewism’, It ends up with an essentialised view of the Jew who cannot escape from the ‘Jewish Power’ nexus. It was explained to me in great detail on the Peacepalestine website that someone like me is part of the ‘Jewish power’ nexus whether I like it or not”

  12. anticapitalista on said:

    #14 do you really think that some “editor who says, ‘so what’s so anti-semitic about Mein Kampf anyhow’ and the rest of the collective has to go along and publish it.” is a good example?
    I doubt there is any editor on Indymedia who thinks like that.

    Maybe, just maybe..they don’t think Atzmon is ant-semitic. He may be an arrogant, provocative asshole, but that doesn’t make him necessarily anti-semitic.

  13. goodwin sands on said:

    He may be an arrogant, provocative asshole, but that doesn’t make him necessarily anti-semitic.

    I quite agree. It’s his anti-Semitism that makes him anti-Semitic. It’s not a charge I make lightly. Most anti-Zionists are not anti-Semites. This one is. It’s hard to find a single meme from the classic anti-Semitic stockpile he hasn’t tried out, right down to “the Jews killed Christ.”

  14. Exactly it is Atzmon’s writing that exposes him as anti-Semitic, for example:

    “we must begin to take the accusation that the Jewish people are trying to control the world very seriously…. …. American Jewry makes any debate on whether the ‘Protocols of the elder of Zion’ are an authentic document or rather a forgery irrelevant. American Jews do try to control the world

    Ian Donovan is quite wrong that Atzmon is a harmless eccentric, becasue atzmon constantly attacks Jewish pro-palestinian activists, such as Julia Bard, David Rosenberg and michael Rosen. Accusing them of themselves being Zionists, just becasue they self-identify culturally as Jews.

    Atzmon argues to “re-define Zionism as a modern form of Jewish activism which aims at halting assimilation, we can then re-asses the entire Jewish tribal political activity as an internal debate within a diverse Zionist political movement. We should then regard the colonizing of Palestine as not more than just one single face of Zionism. In fact, Jewish Socialism fits very nicely into the Zionist project. Being an integral part of the Zionist network, it is concerned with the future of the Jewish secular tribe, it is there to collect the lost souls amongst the Jewish leftists and it brings them back to Blooms. The shift towards presenting Zionism in a new terminology invites us to regard Zionism as global Jewish tribal political activism.”

    His target is those secular Jews who seek to preserve Jewish culture. For Atzmon, seeking to have a Jewish cultural identity is the same thing as being a Zionist. This is what leads to his obsession with constantly criticising Jewish socialists, and claiming that Jews are the problem.

    Atzmon seeks to abolish the category of Jewishness, and that is what makes him an anti-Semite.

    For any in the pro-palestinian camp to flirt with and associate with people who seek to deny Jews the right to exist as Jews is dangerous.

  15. BTW,

    Does anyone believe that anti-capitalista would be defending anti-Semitic drivel like this if Atzmon did not have a relationship with the SWP?

  16. Lobby Ludd on said:

    Derek W gives us a link to the article in Indymedia UK, and yes it is depressing.

    It is not possible to determine who was the author of this inflammatory article, but I’m sure the sovietologists among us could have a very close punt on it.

    Atzmon seems to suffer from that not uncommon disease of the artistically talented – believing that their thoughts about things of which they know nothing are important.

    Shit as the politics are, I’m not sure that Atzmon’s politics matter in the great scheme of things – only he, and a few acolytes care about them.

    This is not to say that the SWP should have given him houseroom. Nor do I think that Atzmon should be excused of his ornate anti-semitism. The main problem is when such nonsense gets in the way.

  17. Ian Donovan on said:

    “Atzmon seeks to abolish the category of Jewishness, and that is what makes him an anti-Semite.”

    That doesn’t make sense. He wants to abolish Jewishness through assimilation. He describes himself as an ex-Jew, and seems to want all non-religious Jews to follow this. H also states he has no problem with religious Jews – their identity to him is has a purpose that is not based on ethnicity per se.

    This is the opposite of anti-semitism, which holds that because Jews are allegedly ‘racially’ different, they cannot be assimilated and must be at best segregated, and at worst exterminated.

    I think he is wrong about Jewish culture. There is as much in it that is progressive as in any culture, and that is part of humanity’s cultural heritage. But being wrong about the nature of Jewish culture (or any other culture) does not *necessarily* make someone a racist.

  18. goodwin sands on said:

    Does anyone believe that anti-capitalista would be defending anti-Semitic drivel like this if Atzmon did not have a relationship with the SWP

    Sadly, the SWP doesn’t have a monopoly on ideological insularity.

  19. Ian Donovan on said:

    No. If only the SWP had a rational and democratic internal regime… but that is a big if only (and rather off this topic!).

  20. Ian Donovan on said:

    It’s a bit sad that Andy was rude to anticapitalista, when for a change he wasn’t trolling. But this subject generates so much heat … well lets just say its a bit of a weak point.

  21. anticapitalista on said:

    But Ian, thisis the crap that andy posted #20

    BTW,

    Does anyone believe that anti-capitalista would be defending anti-Semitic drivel like this if Atzmon did not have a relationship with the SWP?

    Comment by Andy — 7 January, 2008 @ 11:05 pm

    So you must be a closet!!

    Anyhow, this is what pisses me off about this site. Anyone known to be an SWP or IST member who posts against the ‘Andy line’ is to be slated. And this is done in the name of “Socialist Unity”
    See Ian, he won’t slag you off in the same way as he knows you are, let’s be generous, ‘hostile’ to the SWP. Nor anyone else who he knows is not a supporter/sympathiser/member that he has disagreements with ie over Livingstone as first choice for Mayor.

    No wonder Rees liked the guy!

  22. Ian Donovan, there are several questions being raised by GA, not just the matter of whether the likes of me are crypto zionist arseholes on account of the fact that I say that I’m Jewish or indeed that I once gigged with a bloke who belongs to a band whose Yiddish name can be translated as ‘Have strength'(ie a covert reference to ‘jewish power’) or more seriously and problematically, that along with Harold Pinter, Carmen Kallil, Julie Kristeva and occasional Palestinian representatives I have played Jewish Book Week which receives some sponsorship money from the Israeli embassy (thereby proving that I’m a traitor/liar/zionist).

    There is also the GA analysis of Ashkenazy Jews that they didn’t/don’t possess a culture, that their original mother tongue, Yiddish, has no grammar or etymology – an analysis that bears traces of at least a dislike of a range of east European Jews who once numbered a good few millions…but let’s not get into that.

    Much more significant is GA’s more serious points about ‘Jewish power’. This is a political analysis of the Middle East and indeed of how the world is run. The issue in question is whether the politics of both the Middle East and indeed of world finance, US policy in Iraq and towards Iran are all carried out at the behest of a group variously identified by GA and others as ‘the Jews’, ‘American Jews’, ‘the Israel lobby’, ‘Jewish money’ and so on. As far as it is possible to tell, GA seems to think that this is the case. In a sarcastic interchange with someone called Wolf on the peacepalestine website going on at this very moment, he seems to be saying that ‘they’ (previously identified on the thread as American Jews) sent America into Iraq to kill millions of Iraqis.

    Now, you can describe this view of the world in any number of ways. GA would like to remove the category of antisemitism from the argument. It’s always difficult to lay down how the rest of the world use language, but let’s give it a try, even so. So, if this line of thinking isn’t antisemitic, what is it? A cool factual analysis of the status quo? In the language usually used on this site, does it consign to the dustbin of history an analysis that says that capitalism and imperialism are run in order that capitalists and imperialists (of whatever hue, colour, creed or nature)benefit from the division of labour, the relations and fruits of production through exploitation, and imperialist control of resources, labour and markets? Or is it time now that that analysis needs updating by saying that capitalism and imperialism are now so controlled by one group acting as a group that we should really talk about ‘the Jews’ as running it all for the benefit of ‘the Jews’? And if this is the case, what’s to be done? As far as I can see, for the liberation of humankind, there is only one thing that can be done, which is to break ‘Jewish power’, to remove ‘the Jews’ from any position in which they dominate, control, regulate, manipulate etc. And when that’s done, the argument continues (I think), the world will be a freer happier place. (Slight problem here in that the full Jewish power thesis as I’ve seen it expressed applies also right down to Jews who dominate in small institutions including, I fear, the music scene. Indeed GA has now become so popular with, what I for one happen to regard as, uttely sublime, wonderful music (yes, that’s true!) that there might be people who hold to the Jewish Power thesis and so are getting worried that this ex-Jew is beginning to dominate our English Jazz scene…but let’s leave that for the moment.

    So, there are two parts to the Jewish power argument: one that it exists (and to say so isn’t antisemitic, it’s just factual) and two, that removing Jewish power will liberate humankind, beginning with the Palestinians.

    Now, I’ve said my piece about this stuff on an earlier thread here at SN, on peacepalestine and in Jewish Socialist. To tell the truth, I don’t think there’s much point in this solely being an argument between ‘secular Jews’ and an ex-Jew . I’d be really interested to hear what some of the non-Jews around on the left think of the Jewish Power argument. If I’ve misrepresented it (as expressed both by GA and others) or indeed have drawn the wrong conclusions from it, this isn’t intentional. I do genuinely believe that an idea once expressed is worth expounding properly before arguing with or against it. Ian Donovan, for example, do you think the Jewish Power argument has got some good sense in it?

  23. Ian Donovan on said:

    “See Ian, he won’t slag you off in the same way as he knows you are, let’s be generous, ‘hostile’ to the SWP.”

    Not that hostile. Last summer I was seriously weighing up the possibility of joining, notwithstanding serious doubts about the internal setup. A great shame the SWP showed its flawed and irrational side and caused this messy split to happen, and thereby made my mind up for me.

    It helps to try to discuss difficult subjects without going over the top and abusing those you are discussing with. Sometimes that is extremely difficult, when you are dealing with outright enemies and bigots, or implacable, disruptive types, but I dont regard anyone in this discussion (except maybe goodwin sands, the Zionist from HP) in that way.

  24. “Last summer I was seriously weighing up the possibility of joining, notwithstanding serious doubts about the internal setup”

    what was it about the SWP that attracted you to consider joining them?

  25. Ian Donovan on said:

    “Ian Donovan, for example, do you think the Jewish Power argument has got some good sense in it?”

    No, not at all. I do, however, think that in an odd way US imperialism has a certain interest in allowing the appearance of such a thing – while it is convenient. Hence the extraordinary latitude allowed to Likudniks and similar Zionist types in America. In a similar manner did various pre-capitalist regimes in the past also allow sections of Jewry to occupy prominent and privileged positions.

    Because of these people’s loyalty to Israel, often fanatical, they both provide a useful pressure group alongside the more mainstream American hawkish types, and they provide a diversion, giving the appearance that a foriegn-loyal lobby is directing US policy. Thus providing a lightning rod and camoflague for the real strategic interests of US imperialism, and a possible future scapegoat if things go wrong.

    So no, I don’t agree with Atzmon on ‘Jewish Power’. But I also recognise that the hideous reality of Israel provides the material circumstances where that concept can appear plausible to a progressive-minded section of Israeli Jews themselves, that identifies with the Palestinians. Just as it does for part of the Palestinians themselves.

  26. Ian Donovan on said:

    “what was it about the SWP that attracted you to consider joining them?”

    Their apparently positive commitment to Respect, their hard opposition to Islamophobia, things like that. All for now, must get some kip:-)

  27. Yes I accept I was wrong to be rude to Anticapitalista. Sorry.

    The trouble is that there has been so much polarisation and bad temper, it is easy to adapt to it.

    I consider myself justly reprimanded.

  28. #32 Ian

    In pre-capitalist and agrarian societies in Europe and the Middle east, Jewry DID NOT “occupy prominent and privileged positions”

    It is worth referring to Ernest Gellner’s discussion of Diasporo nationalism in “Nations and Nationality”. the sociology of pre-Indistrial society is that social markers or ethnicity are used to identify and contain people in social roles: hence the common use of slaves and Eunuchs in bureaucracy, the use of foreigners as generals and professional soldiers, and the reliance upon the Jews in finance, and for usuary. Social roles like the clerisy or the ruling heirarchy often spoke dfferent languages from those used by localy producing communities. This was a system of great stability.

    The handling of large sums of money gave great power, and if that power was in the hands of social group with pariah status who could not use it, then so much the better. Jewishness in most of Europe was related to urban specialist roles – finance, commerce and certain handicrafts. So Jews in mediaeval Europe never enjoyed privilged positions, they had a pariah status, linked to material wealth.

    This is what gives the clear class based contempt for Jews in medieaval anti-Jewish hatred (see Martin Luther).

    To a certain degree then rich jews were well positioned to become early adopters of the role of finance capitalists; while other Jewish urban specialisms were undercut by industrial manufacturing, and Jews were precipitated into both the capitalist and working classes.

    I have never accepted the idea of a “Jewish lobby” in the US determining foreign policy. Why should the jews be able to exert such influence, when equally rich Arabs cannot? The reason that the pro-Israeli lobbyists in the USA are regarded as puppetmasters for US policy is residual ani-Semitism in our society.

    The racialising of anti-Judaic prejudice occured in the nineteenth century with specious pseudo-science about the Semitic language as an ethnic identifier. Atzmon employs a cultural rather than ethnic standard, but in the world of identity politics he does bundle all Jews together, and any Jew who resists assimilation he regards as a Zionist. So for him those who uphold cultural Jewish identity are partly to blame for Israeli atrocities, becasue in Atzmon’s view they reinforce the Jewish identity that finds nationalist expression in the Israeli state.

    The thinG about Atzmon is that he has a very broad canopy of anti-Jewish hatred, He taps into pre–Industrial myths of jewish pariah status (they killed christ) – which still has a broad appeal among Western Christians (see Mel Gibson), but mocks remorselessly the cultural identifiers of Jewishness. And also argues that there is a Jewish conspiracy, defends the protocols of Zion.

    Currently anti-Judaic prejudice is a marginal but nevertheless a real and growing problem in Britain (racial attacks, synagogues attacked, etc), and in eastern europe is resurgent.

    I am not interested in pop-psychology excuses for why it might be understandable that Atmon is an anti-Semite. He is one, and should be opposed relentlessly by the left.

  29. David T on said:

    Andy

    You are quite correct.

    I’d like to add that – for all his many faults – Galloway had the good sense to duck out of a SWP-arranged meeting, where he was to have shared a platform with Atzmon. Galloway cited a “vote in the House of Commons on Iraq” as the reason for his absence: although there was no ‘vote on Iraq’ on the day in question.

    Galloway has also been absolutely consistent in rejecting ‘Israel is running US foreign policy’ theories. I’ve seen him do this more than once. This is one of the reasons that I think it is unfair to describe Galloway as a racist, as opposed to an extreme “anti-Zionist”.

    There are other Galloway faction RESPECT-ers, including Abdurahman Jafar who has maintained in print that “Israel has been formulating and directing UK and US foreign policy” (http://tinyurl.com/yrv3ra – he also believes that sikhs “have adopted a custom to never cut their hair until the last Musim on earth is dead”).

    However, the careless lazy racist conspiricism of Jafar is nothing compared with the SWP’s active and enthusiastic promoting of Atzmon: who, in every article he writes, sees whether he can slip in a more outrageous racist canard than the last. The blogger “lenin”, in the early days, sniffed Atzmon’s far right politics out, and denounced them as ‘disgusting’. Yet Martin Smith laid down the law. Atzmon was to be supported, defended, and promoted. I expect that he’ll be playing more fundraiser gigs for them in 2009.

    The SWP really has no shame on this. That’s why it is so refreshing to have such a clear and reasoned response from you, Andy.

    Michael Rosen, in particular, must feel sick to his stomach: all the work that he’s done for the SWP in the past, and the SWP just don’t give a toss. Perhaps they think that a saxophonist with far right views has more cachet and glamour than the childrens’ laureate.

    Incidentally, be warned. Atzmon will now come gunning for you, big time.

  30. Ian Donovan on said:

    I’m afraid I think it is a bit rich when the likes of David T comes along and complains about ‘far right’ politics emanating from Atzmon. Atzmon is at least directing his polemics against the culture and chauvinism of his own ruling class, even if he pushes this way too far and thus appears to echo some stereotypes about his own people. Whereas the likes of David T, of course, not only publishes the most disgusting chauvinist tirades against Muslims and all their works, but also supports imperialist wars against them. David T is fundamentally defined by chauvinism against other peoples, and in no sense opposes his own ruling class even in a flawed manner. Between David T and Atzmon, I’m afraid I prefer Atzmon for that reason. I dont have the time to reply to Andy’s longer piece now, hopefully later.

  31. David T, do try not to be a knakke (clever dick) wasting your time trying to figure out what I think and feel. I’m quite capable of saying that myself.

    You seem to be implying that what I say to the SWP or what I have ‘done for’ them, should weigh in their judgement as to whether they should book Gilad to play. What a peculiar idea! I think you’ll find that you couldn’t run any political organisation that run on those lines.

  32. Ian #22

    You are quite wrong, when you write:

    He wants to abolish Jewishness through assimilation. He describes himself as an ex-Jew, and seems to want all non-religious Jews to follow this. H also states he has no problem with religious Jews – their identity to him is has a purpose that is not based on ethnicity per se.

    This is the opposite of anti-semitism, which holds that because Jews are allegedly ‘racially’ different, they cannot be assimilated and must be at best segregated, and at worst exterminated.

    First of all anti-semitism is a real issue in our society:

    In September 2006, a parliamentary enquiry heard of a sharp increase of attacks on Jews since the war in Lebanon had started. The Times reported Mark Gardener of the Community Security Trust saying: “In July, when the conflict in Lebanon began, we received reports of 92 incidents, which was the third-worst month since records began in 1984.” In 2000 the monthly average was between 10 and 30 incidents. … The July incidents “were more dispersed than usual … It is usually a small number responsible for a large number of attacks, but these were very widespread across the country and included graffiti attacks on synagogues in Edinburgh and Glasgow. The attackers, when visible, are from across society, he said. “When it’s verbal abuse, it’s just ordinary people in the street, from middle-class women to working-class men. All colours and backgrounds. We hardly ever see incidents involving the classic neo-Nazi skinhead. Muslims are over-represented.” In hate-mail to senior Jewish figures, ordinary Jewish people were being blamed for the deaths of Lebanese civilians. “There are also references to the Holocaust, saying that Hitler should have wiped out the Jews.”

    Personally I have several times been offered the explanation that the wars have been orchestrated by Jews, along with “revelations” that various members of the British government are Jewish. To fail to challenge this anti-Judaic prejudice, on the basis that islamophobia is a greater evil, is the anti-imperialism of fools.

    But specifically, we need to unpack your arguement Atzmon’s view being the opposite of anti-Semitism. To a certain degree we need to recognise that Anti-Semitism is only one variety of anti-Judaic prejudice.

    We should not ignore the deep well of anti-Judaic ideology within Christian culture The huge success of Mel Gibson’s “Passion of Christ” reveals the large audience for the traditional Christian interpretation of the Gospels, that the Jews killed Christ. In the Gospel of Matthew, the Roman governor, Pontius Pilate “took water, and washed his hands before the [Jewish] multitude, saying, I am innocent of the blood of this just person: see ye to it. Then answered all the people, and said, His blood be on us, and on our children.” This may be a deeply unfashionable interpretation for trendy Anglicans, but it is believed by millions of Christians around the world. Indeed Mel Gibson was condemned simply for bringing the literal words of the Bible to a film-going audience.

    In pre-Capitalist European culture, Christians were prohibited from usury – lending money for interest. Mediaeval Jewry therefore played a social role as bankers and financiers. The enduring stereotype of Jews as greedy therefore derives from Mediaeval opposition to finance capital. As Martin Luther wrote in 1543: “They let us work in the sweat of our brow to earn money and property while they sit behind the stove, idle away the time, fart, and roast pears. They stuff themselves, guzzle, and live in luxury and ease from our hard-earned goods. With their accursed usury they hold us and our property captive. Moreover, they mock and deride us because we work and let them play the role of lazy squires at our expense and in our land. Thus they are our masters and we are their servants, with our property, our sweat, and our labour.”

    Martin Luther may have little direct influence on modern anti-Semitism, but the identification of Jews trying to control the world through finance capital still has widespread currency, and informs, for example the idea of a “Jewish lobby” that dictates American support for Israel.

    It should be noted that neither the identification of Jews as Christ killers, nor the belief that there is a “Jewish lobby” can be identified as the new form of racism that speaks of cultural rather than racial differences. These are forms of anti-Judaic bigotry that pre-date racism, and are deeply embedded in European culture. To effectively challenge them requires that we recognise their origin, and specifically refute them in theoir own terms rather than confuse them as being identical with modern anti-semitism.

    It was the 19th century saw anti-Judaic feeling given a gloss of pseudo-science, with the birth of this modern anti-semitism. This made an important difference because it created a racial category for the Jews. Previously Christian theology had disputed the claim of Jews to be a separate people. The Jews themselves regarded themselves as a nation without a home, but the Christians saw them as people who had rejected Christ. This was important for Christians as a refutation of the claim by Jews to be a favoured people by God. As Luther wrote: “If birth counts before God, I can claim to be just as noble as any Jew, … For I will not give it up and neither Abraham, David, prophets, apostles nor even an angel in heaven, shall deny me the right to boast that Noah, so far as physical birth or flesh and blood is concerned, is my true, natural ancestor, and that his wife (whoever she may have been) is my true, natural ancestress; for we are all descended, since the Deluge, from that one Noah.”

    Mediaeval anti-Judaism regarded Jewishness as a question of faith, and a Jew who accepted Christ stopped being a Jew.( Indeed this was necessarily so, because the apostles were Jews who followed Christ.) Indeed the distinctive traditions of Hassidic Jews may have been adopted by the sect as a defence against their faith being lost by assimilation, in a similar way to Christian sects like the Amish. The concept of a secular Jew would have been a nonsense in Mediaeval Europe, whereas the Nazis slaughtered atheists and Christians who they regarded as being of Jewish race.

    Through virtue of their alleged descent from a non-European linguistic stock the Jews became regarded as a race.

    But modern racism is often more sophisticated then simply being about racial differnce, and is expressed in terms of defending national culture. Many Jews reject the idea of being a race (indeed if you go to Israel you immediately see the ethnic diversity among Jews, who are black, white or Arab). What Atzmon does is denounce jews for seeking to maintain a distinct identity, in parallel with whatever other ways they choose to identify themselves. he seeks the eradication of jewishness as a category. MIchael Rosen is very astute here when he says there is no neutral culture to assimilate to – and Jewish identity is as valid as all of the other non-neutral cultural and national identities people adopt. Except for anti_semites who dispute the validity of Jewishness because they believe Jews share a collective guilt: whether for finance capitalism, communism, killing Christ, Israel or whatever.

    And yes it is true that opposition to Israel is a contributary strand to modern prejudice aginst Jews, but Atzmon goes much further in his defence of the blood libel, and the protocols than anything that may be explained by over enthusiastic anti-Zionism.

  33. Ian, I don’t think anyone in the world is asking you to choose between David T and Atzmon. There is no election, no beauty contest, no sax talent show in which you have choose between the two. In logic, science, politics and philosophy it’s quite possible for two positions to be wrong and other positions (not mentioned by the first two) to be right!

  34. David T on said:

    Michael: Fair point.

    And Ian Donovan: what is your view of Jafar’s thesis that Israel is directing UK and US foreign policy, and that sikhs won’t shave their beards until all the muslims have been killed?

    Anything wrong with that at all, do you think?

  35. Andy,
    Ask Rob who tipped him off about Atzmon and warning off George.

    Whatever Galloway is,he’s certainly not a racist like Atzmon.

  36. David

    #41

    I don’t know the individual you are referring to nor his writings. But it is fair to say that many religious people believe a lot of irrational baggage that comes with their faith (Ruth Kelly!), and a lot of us non-religious people believe a lot of irrational stuff too (more than we admit).

    It only becomes a problem when people start organising politically around the promotion of discrimination or prejudice.

  37. David T on said:

    And no, my views are not “defined by chauvinism against other peoples”.

    I do, however, have a very real problem with religious-political Islamist groups, which are quite open in their desire to impose repressive social policies, with the primacy of religious law over democracy. Islamist political parties like Jamaat get a tiny minority of the votes in Pakistan and Bangladesh. They’re not widely supported in the UK either: although they’re very active.

    My main focus isn’t even Islamist politics. It is the alliance between sections of the far left and Islamists.

    Saying that opposition to Islamist groups is “chauvinism against muslims” is like saying that opposition to White Nationalist groups is “chauvinism against whites”.

    As far as I can tell, sections of the far left have been quite happy to enter into alliances with these groups. They’re in RESPECT Renewal, for heavens’ sake! The rationale seems to be that they’re not likely to take power in the UK, that they’re good organisers and speakers, that they’re part of the global opposition to ‘imperialism’, and therefore they’re quite acceptable bedfellows.

    This is what the SWP was saying, before they got knifed. Only now have they realised that it isn’t a brilliant idea to be in an alliance with the Islamist far right.

  38. David T on said:

    “It only becomes a problem when people start organising politically around the promotion of discrimination or prejudice.”

    Yeah, but you still wouldn’t want to have people who openly spun racist canards as a senior activist in your party, would you?

    Jafar wrote an article in a national Muslim newspaper, which stated that Israel was running US and UK foreign policy. He also wrote in the comments thread to one of his articles in the Guardian, this disgusting racist rubbish about sikhs.

    I mean, can you imagine what would happen if the Tories had a candidate who expressed views such as these? He’d be out on his arse in 5 minutes.

    Yet Jafar is on the National Council of the Galloway-RESPECT party. He also ran for Mayor of Newham.

    Doesn’t this sort of thing worry you at all? I mean, this isn’t like Ruth Kelly believing that every sperm is sacred. This is a senior member of your party claiming, in print, that Israel is running the US/UK, and that bearded sikhs are waiting to slaughter muslims.

    How is that not (a) more outrageous and (b) “organising politically around the promotion of discrimination or prejudice”?

  39. David

    There is no right-wing Islamist block in Respect, nor has there ever been,

    This is a figment of your imagination.

    More to the point, it is a distraction away from an important subject (how to combate anti-Semitism) which doesn’t get discussed enough, towards another issue that has been thrashed out enough times already.

  40. albacore on said:

    Just one slight quibble to Michael Rosen – you list the “Isreal lobby” amongst various descriptions of Jewish Power. I think this one doesn’t quite fit, since the “lobby” isn’t defined (at least by M&W, as I understand it) by Jewishness – some notable Christians are identified as being part of it.

    M&W may be right or wrong about the role of the “lobby” in instigating war against Iraq (I think they’re wrong) but I don’t think it is necessarily an anti-semitic thesis.

  41. Interesting review of M and W’s book in this month’s Socialist Review (which I’m sure everyone here will be rushing off to read). (some of it will be online, I think) The review dismisses the M and W thesis of the all-powerful Israel lobby running US policy in the interests of Israel and/or the Jews etc etc. This is interesting because this completely separates the SWP from the Atzmon position without mentioning him by name. We shall see if Atzmon puts this down to crypto-zionist infiltration of the SWP. Apparently crypto-zionism is catching and can happen to people with the best of intentions (that’s excluding myself of course, in that obviously I don’t have the best of intentions).

  42. I wouldn’t want to speculate on Gilad Atzmon’s motivation. I don’t know him personally. But I would summarise my own view of the overall impact that his articles and interventions have had as follows:

    1. They have created divisions within the Palestine solidarity movement where none previously existed.
    2. They have focused on attacking prominent Jewish anti-Zionists in a way designed to weaken their influence both within the Jewish community and within the broad left.
    3. They have provided ammunition to those apologists for Zionism who argue, however spuriously, that anyone who is opposed to the Israeli state must therefore also be anti-Jewish.
    4. They have created a situation where much time and energy is wasted on refuting bankrupt old arguments and on trying to heal fresh divisions.

    While it is commendable that Gilad Atzmon has donated money and support to the Palestinian cause, I would argue that that does little to mitigate any of the above. I would also argue that, whatever his motivation, his engagement with anti-Zionist politics has, in the final analysis, only served to advance the interests of the Israeli state by weakening the anti-Zionist movement

  43. Michael

    I would argue (as indeed I have elsewhere) that the political link between the SWP and Atzmon is stronger over the question of identity poliics, than over anti-Zionism. This is also where ian Donovan, who is also weak on understanding the politics of identity lines up with the SWP.

    So what do the SWP say about national identity? This was explained most starkly by Paul McGarr writing in Socialist Worker: “Ordinary people in England may live on the same piece of land as the rich, but they have nothing else whatever in common.”

    National Secretary of the SWP, Martin Smith writes in a review of Billy Bragg’s book “The Progressive patriot”: Bragg “ throws together a number of disconnected historical events, myths and anecdotes and tries to make a case for an English national identity.”

    In “Wales, Class Struggle and Socialism” Socialist Worker journalist Charlie Kimber gives a quote from Lenin without citation that reads: “Our banner does not contain the slogan national culture but international culture” … and Kimber concludes: “All of us benefit from drawing on the best of international culture rather than remaining imprisoned by the particular culture we happen to be born into”

    For the vast majority of people, national culture and national identity exist and are important. The English, Scots and Welsh have as much culture, history and tradition to be proud of as the Jews, so the arguments of Michael Rosen, Julia Bard and David Rosenberg defending the idea of socialists self identifying with a collective Jewish consciousness are equally valid for English, Scottish and Welsh socialists.

    The problem with denying the legitimacy of identity is that it allows the right wing an unchallenged opportunity to represent themselves as the true voice of those identifying with that nationality. Atzmon’s specific project is to challenge and oppose the idea that there can be anti-Zionists who self identify culturally as Jews – this is what leads him to lump all Jews together as Zionists, thus Atmon encourages the idea that the Zionists speak for all Jews.

    In Israel it is even more disastrous becasue to deny the majority their right to a national identity is to feed fears of the Jewish nation being liquidated.

  44. Andy I think you’re doing something rather strange with language here. There is ‘identity’ and there is ‘national identity’. In what you’ve just written you’re almost suggesting or implying that these things are the same. I don’t think so. What’s more there really is not much that’s equivalent between the word ‘jewish’ and the words ‘English’ or ‘Welsh’.

    So, let’s unpack this. Yes, I believe that people express who they are through a set of practices and codes. Wherever people have lived together, they will both actually and in some ways ‘imagine’ that they share these practices and codes and because of this, this is what defines them as belonging to each other. However, most European practises and codes are in fact hybrids. They are not uniquely ‘Welsh’ or uniquely ‘Jewish’. What’s more, wherever people say that they belong, they will also find differences. Marxists will find class being the most clear example of this: eg is it better for a Welsh person to be exploited by a Welsh person or an English one? Marxist says, no difference.

    When I defend the right of Jews to say that they have an identity, that is pragmatic. If a Jew wants to say that he or she is Jewish and does some Jewish stuff, that’s fine by me. If a Jew wants to say that he or she isn’t Jewish and does no Jewish stuff, actually that’s fine by me too, but in the context of racism and Zionism he or she will find that he or she is ‘claimed’ by others. This poses the existential choice of what to do then. Deny or admit?

    I don’t think there is any essence of Jewishness (or essence of Welshness, or any other essences). My own position is that I, like everyone else, is defined by a good deal of cross currents and inheritances, eg I’m male, London, English, socialist, Arsenal supporter, father, son, bereaved…etc etc…and any one of these surfaces or becomes more or less relevant depending on the situation I’m in. Thus, if someone whose son has gone missing rings me up, (as happened this week) I sense it’s my state of bereavement he’s appealing to. If I see a petition calling for support of a one-state Palestine and I sign it, I sense that this is me the socialist and Jew signing. If someone asks me what kind of pickled cucumber I like, I sense that it’s mostly the Jew bit.And so on. I concede that this is mechanistic model (ie of separate ‘balls’ of identity jumping about in a bingo-like capsule prior to being picked by a bingo caller) so I would want to modify this by saying that the ‘balls’ merge and blur and overlap in ways that aren’t easy to describe.

    As it happens I accept Atzmon’s and Rizzo’s appeal for humanistic approaches to the middle east and not ‘Jewish’ ones. That’s why there are some Jews only petitions I’ve given up signing because I don’t think they move anything on. However, this has to be balanced with the argument that Israel gets away with what it gets away with, partly (and it’s only partly) because of the false claim that Israel and zionism represents all Jews. In the face of that claim, I do say with absolutely no qualms, I am Jewish, I was always told by my parents that they and I were Jews, and I have no wish to be part of anything to do with Israel (a foreign country I’ve never visited) and zionism (which tells me nothing about how to act, think or be, in the place where I’ve lived and worked all my life).

    As to whether these moving, mosaics (kaleidoscopes?) of identity are important or not, I think all we can say is that ‘it depends’. If at any time, the issue of identity prevents us from combining to create a better world for all, it’s well worth junking aspects of our identity. If elements in our identity aid and help us to combine to create a better world for all, then these are worth hanging on to. I think the Billy Bragg route is a wrong route because he seems to think that there is stuff in there that is so valuable, it can’t be ever be junked. You only have to go to Australia or the US to see how quickly people will junk the cultures that they might have died or prayed for back in their home countries. I think it’s a very dangerous route to go down to fetishize culture and identity. I’m guessing here, but I think Atzmon has turned his irritation with European Jewish nostalgia (he, being an ex-Israeli) into a hate of it, as it appears to him to be irrelevant, an obstacle to the liberation of the Middle East and in the end too connected to Zionism. IN so doing, he dismisses the anti-zionist traditions that almost got wiped out by the Nazis but have (in tiny numbers) survived. (I’m only in part an inheritor of these in that I had great grandparents and grandparents who were bundists but my parents were Communists and anti-Bund.) However, as I’ve said, I don’t think that this is the most significant or serious of his attacks. The key to it all is the ‘Jewish Power’ thesis and I think his sometime bookers at the SWP have dealt with this quite nicely in this month’s Socialist Review. Presumably, peacepalestine and/or Atzmon’s webpage will expose them as crypto-zionists in a day or so…

  45. Meanwhile, Mary Rizzo at the peacepalestine site has posted a comment about GA’s meeting last night, so in the interests of open debate I’ve copied it and am putting it up here. If Andy wants to take it off, he’s completely at liberty to do so, it’s his blog, not mine. (I won’t shout censorship!) So, if people want to see exactly what GA says in public, read peacepalestine…

    Mary Rizzo writes (as ‘the cutter’)

    “The event was a massive success! I heard a complete account of it from Gilad, and tonight will print more details.

    It was packed to capacity and then some. A remote viewing area had to be set up, so that people who couldn’t get in could watch it on a screen. It was a talk/performance plus debate that was received very well by the public that was present. There was no one who had come to protest, and, most interestingly, there were some who reported of the pressure they had faced so that they wouldn’t go. They defied the “orders from headquarters” and afterward told Gilad they were very impressed with the talk, thought he had many interesting things to say, and they couldn’t figure out where the idea came from that Gilad had some kind of racist agenda, quite the contrary, in fact.

    The fuss made in order to prevent Gilad from coming was all in vain, as the organiser made all the choices, from the first to the last, there was no caving in to pressure, and there was a gathering of people who care about the world who wanted to talk/listen/debate and share experiences.

    There will soon be a written version of the speech available, as well as one on video. As usual, keep tuned here for the latest!

    The gatekeepers who want to silence probably the fiercest and most honest critic of Zionism and zionists never do win one do they? Maybe they had better find different targets.”

  46. Michael seems to be a little naieve about Samina Malik

    Samina Malik is a young poet who writes under the pen name The Lyrical Terrorist. She was arrested and charged under the new anti-terror law of possessing items “likely to be useful to a person committing or preparing an act of terrorism” (Report, December 6). She has now been given a nine-month suspended sentence. Her poetry, found on her computer, was central to the conviction.
    Should a person’s interests, emotions and opinions be used as evidence to convict them in front of a court? The answer would seem to be yes if they are young, working-class and Muslim. Christopher Hitchens recently defended Martin Amis of racist attacks on Muslims (G2, November 21), saying “the harshness Amis was canvassing was not in the least a recommendation, but rather an experiment in the limits of permissible thought”.

    In Britain today, is the right to “experiment with the limits of permissible thought” only accorded to people who have the correct skin colour, religion and academic background?
    Iain Banks, Caryl Churchill, Lindsey German, Michael Kustow, Adrian Mitchell, Andrew Murray, John Pilger, Michael Rosen

    Oops

    Qureshi has now pleaded guilty to preparing to commit terrorist activity and possessing items of use to terrorists, including £9,000 cash and a night vision scope, and computer material for terrorist purposes:

    The 29-year-old was in email contact with Samina Malik, the ‘lyrical terrorist’ convicted in November of storing a library of material for terrorism.

    Malik, who worked for WH Smith at Heathrow’s Terminal Four, wrote poems about her desire for martyrdom and beheading unbelievers but was given a suspended jail sentence.

    Qureshi asked her in an email: “Sis, I hope you get this email before anyone else. What is the system like at work? Is the checking still very harsh or have things calmed down a bit?”

    Qureshi planned to fly to Islamabad for a “two- to three-week operation” either in Pakistan, Afghanistan or Waziristan, the prosecution told the Old Bailey.

    The court heard that police intercepted internet traffic in which Qureshi wrote: “Pray that I kill many, brother. Revenge, revenge, revenge.”

  47. #52

    Michael – natonal identity is a form of collective consciousness, that competes with and also coexists with other forms of identity.

    the predominant forms of identity on our society are nationality and those related to gender/sexuality. It is nonsensical to counterpose class consciousness to national consciusness, when both can obvioulsy coexist.

    You have misunderstood Bragg’s thesis. The diffculty is that you have misread it so profoundly and comprehensively that it is hard to know how to where to start in arguing against you.

    So instead I will just point out that becasuie nationality is one of the predominant forms of social conciousness, it is necessary to contest its ideological content, not deny that it exists.

  48. Sorry, Andy, just because someone says that they have ‘national’ identity doesn’t mean that they are identifying with the whole of that nation or indeed have any clear sense of what that nation is or indeed what it means. You’ll hear people who think that they are English nationalists saying that they hate Brummies or some such. There is no slab of national identity with which the individual can identify. Of course, an enormous amount of effort and money goes into suggesting just the opposite, so people will of course say that they identify with the monarch or the national football team (though it isn’t a nation state football team, but an English, Welsh, Scots or Northern Irish one!). Again, I’m pragmatic. If people want to say that they’re British or English or Welsh etc that’s fine by me and if they don’t wnat to say they are, again that’s fine by me. However, I don’t buy the argument that this is a worthwhile plank for socialists to fight out ideology on, either for or against. Again and again, you’ll find that no matter what people say about these matters, the matter is riven through with so many contradictions and cross currents the centre of the argument will not hold. Thus the pathetic wobbliness of the Blair Brown citizen tests and claims that ‘tolerance’ or some such is uniquely British!

    As people of varying political adherence have said on these pages, there are some basic issues that people can unite around eg defending the NHS, opposition to war in Iraq, Afghanistan and Iran etc etc. I haven’t seen anyone volunteering ‘defence of some socialist-form of British identity’ as being one of these. Now why’s that, do you think?

  49. Well few people argue for a socialist form of British identity, but several people argue for a progressive Scottish or Welsh identity, and there are those of use who argue for a progressive English identity. Indeed uniting around progressive narratives of Scottish identity is a very strong project, particularly popular among the working class and young people.

    Why does no one argue for a progressive British identity? well probably becasue Britishness is a multi-national identity historically linked to the Empire state, and for all the reasoons to do with the decline of Britain’s role in the world, dismantling of British wide institutions, etc.

    The current debate over identity is between the Britishness, as you say defended by Gordon Brown, and the growing divergence of Wales and Scotland away from Westminster.

    2007 was an historic year for the UK, with Plaid SNP and Sinn Fein all entering government. In such circumstances very few progressives are going to be trumpeting a progressive Britsh identity.

    Whether we can construct a progressive response to that in England, or whether we allow national identity to be defined by Garry Bushell and david cameron is a challenge for us.

    the preculiarity of English national cultures ( and yes national cultures are multi-stranded and contested) can be hiden by two aspects. i) the fact that people often mistake their own particularity for universality; ii) a specific aspect of English character to assume that our expereince is normative and even exemplary (worth reading Arthur Aughey on this.)

  50. Andy, you typify the problem perfectly! UK is made up of four adminstrative provinces or states. However, their respective nation-nesses are not the same, across Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland and England nor are each of them similar or even equivalent to Britishness. So we have five types of national identity in the pot here. Meanwhile the migration between the four provinces and Ireland as a whole is massive, and now of course migration into the whole of the area from all over the world likewise. The moment you try to construct some kind of core or essential or even ‘progressive’ nationality out of this stuff you’ll run into hybrids and significant exceptions. I have serious doubts that some kind of progressive platform can be carved out of this. I think of much more importance for socialists is to defend the rights of people to migrate. End of.

  51. It can sometimes be a problem arguing that a particular identity is progressive, if, as a matter of fact, it isn’t. People have loads of identities and I don’t think that the national one is neccessarily the most progressive.

  52. That’s it johng, because the moment you try to bung the mass of competing, conflicting, hybridised aspects of a ‘national’ identity, it ceases to be a progressive totality. Raymond Williams distinguished between dominant, emergent and …er…was it ‘recessive’ (or some such word, shit, my memory has gone!) for three aspects of culture. When applied to the way people talk about national culture, you’ll nearly always find that put into its totality it’ll draw on the recessive, past, regressive, conservative aspects. Of course Billy Bragg wants to celebrate the progressive movements and acts of the past, but there’s absolutely no need to bung these under the heading of national.

  53. yeah Mike my head is spinning (!).

    As well as all those excellent points there is a cruder temptation I have. Which is to note that the emergence of nationalism as we understand it today, was closely tied up with the era of bourgoise revolutions, which had as their aim the establishment of independent centres of capital accumulation. These movements were tied up variously with the democratisation of popular traditions and literature, and on the otherhand their homogenisation. They were also, at various points, associated with huge social movements and indeed, sometimes, democratic political gains for the masses. In some places they were not of course. And more typically the legacy is more ambiguous.

    But, firstly, we’re no longer in the era of bourgoise revolutions, and secondly, as Socialists, we ought to be aware by now that the setting up of independent centres of capital accumulation doesn’t lead to human liberation. Its a different kind of struggle we’re interested in, and even in circumstances were the older tasks of the bourgoise revolutions remain unfullfilled, this different kind of struggle moves to the fore. Any analyses that forgets this (I remember reading about the Communist Party in the second world war describing Sir Francis Drake as a proto-socialist, as well as George Orwell speculating about Churchill as the new Lenin), effectively distorts both the present and the past.

    The best national traditions of struggle point beyond nationalism (interestingly this is even so of many self consiously nationalist movements). We should certainly speak, write and popularise these histories of struggle and relate their centrality to our history as Socialists. But thats not at all the same as reducing these traditions to questions of ‘national identity’, instead we should demonstrate how they point beyond the horizons of nationalism towards a different kind of society built on entirely different kinds of principles.

    Of course many will find this old hat. But in reality thats what I’m interested in anyway. I’m not interested in reproducing patriotism with a veneer of leftist rhetoric. Thats an alternative thats been dominant for a very long time, and its hardly untried. Aside from anything else its just dishonest.

  54. Well I will come back to this article by Davidson later, as i am currently working through bauer’s book (which is much more sophisticated than Davidson credits, and I suspect he hasn’t read the original work), and any modern critique of bauer must take into account subsequent theorists like Anderson, Gellner, Hobsbawm and Kohn.

    But I see here that Davidson makes the same false connection between reformist consciousness and national consciousness as he does in his other works. I give a systematic rebutal of his mistaken view on this in a chapter of a forthcoming book on the Engish question, edited by mark Perryman.

  55. Tony Greenstein on said:

    I guess that since I started all this off I’d better say something! And before I start, this has been an excellent debate, with some excellent contributions. It’s the type of debate that the left organisations seem totally incapable of, not least the SWP with their belief that debate = lack of control.

    Look as someone said, I above all have minimised the importance of anti-Semitism. If they hadn’t cut my contribution to Littlejohn’s War Against British Jews to ribbons you’d have heard me say the same again. Anti-Semitism in Britain is marginal. It’s not a form of state racism, it’s a marginal prejudice. I was brought up, son of a rabbi, in non-Jewish communities till I went to Jewish school in Liverpool at the age of 11. You know what? I never experienced an anti-Semitic comment till I went to the summer camp of the Jewish Lads Brigade and heard some ‘Jewish’ jokes. I was appalled that Jews could, of all people, find jokes about such things amusing.

    And although Andy quotes the Community Security Trust I would suggest he takes their ‘statistics’ with a pinch of salt. Even if true they are a tiny proportion of assaults against Muslims and Black people but I don’t accept them. When we fought a rising NF in the 1980’s the Board of Deputies of British Jews and the Zionists played down anti-Semitic attacks. Almost certainly they were greater then. Today the BNP is overtly pro-Zionist. And the CST is not neutral. It is extremely hostile to anti-Zionists and has been the subject of a no. of complaints about their heavy handedness towards anti-Zionists. I say that with some experience since they tried to bar me from the first Independent Jewish Voices meeting and made disparaging comments throughout my speech. I simply don’t believe there is, as they claim, an increase of any significant amount in anti-Semitism or at all.

    But just supposing that I am wrong, then where does the blame lie? I would suggest it rests with those who seek, on a daily basis, to associate British Jews with the war crimes that Israel perpetrates. Who claim that Israel acts in ‘all our names’. Of course there are misguided fools who can then not distinguish between Zionists and Jews, between what Israel does and Jews in the diaspora, who fail to understand that anti-Semitism in Britain and France is extremely welcome to the leaders of the Zionist movement, who see in it a welcome incentive to further immigration. I kid you not. I have plenty of quotes from Zionists to this effect and we have had the spectacle of an Israeli Foreign Minister going to Germany (which has Europe’s fastest growing Jewish community) to pressurise the government there into not admitting Jewish immigrants! There have been similar clashes between Israeli emissaries and the leadership of the French Jewish community.

    In short despite the support of diasporah jews for Israel (though not as much as some people believe) there is also a contradiction between Zionism and the Galut (Jewish disaporah). Historically Zionism detested the ‘sin’ of Galut. It had no place and even today, the only reason for the diaspora existing is to provide immigrants for Israel. This is a contradiction people should not pass over.

    I would also add re the Parliamentary Inquiry into anti-Semitism that Andy mentions that this was a loaded ‘Inquiry’. All its members supported the war in Iraq. It was led by right-wing New Labourites like John Mann and Dennis McShane. It used a definition of anti-Semitism that included anti-Zionism – in short it did everything to confuse the two phenomenon. And why? Because this bunch of imperialists deliberately want to cloak imperialism in the mantle of ‘anti-racism’ – just as a few generations before Empire was described as the ‘white man’s burden’ or ‘trusteeship’. It is a form of ideological legitimation and the Inquiry Report, which I’ve read, really isn’t worth the paper it’s written on. See my article ‘Stop Conflating anti-Semitism and anti-Zionism’ http://commentisfree.guardian.co.uk/tony_greenstein/2007/04/an_attack_on_free_speech.html

    Why then do I find Atzmon and his small, but I have to say honestly, growing current in the wider Palestine solidarity movement worrying? I don’t fear for my personal safety. He isn’t a fascist. It’s for this reason. For years the Zionists have told us that to support the Palestinians is to be anti-Semitic. That has worn very thin. Then along comes Atzmon, Mary Rizzo, Israel Shamir and Paul Eisen with their holocaust denial stuff. It is as if Atzmon and co. want to prove that anti-Zionism is anti-Semitism. I have no doubt that Shamir is an Israeli state asset. It is likely that Atzmon is also but regardless he is doing the work of Mossad and that is worrying. Because the more people start listening to Atzmon and co. the more the cause of the Palestinians will be undermined. It really is that simple.

    Is Atzmon anti-Semitic? Ian Donovan tries to convince us (& I suspect himself) that talk of Jewish conspiracies isn’t anti-Semitic. He fools noone. If you believe that Jews are the centre of some global conspiracy, that they control the banks and US foreign policy then you are an anti-Semite. But what does that mean? Is it that he hates Jews? No. There were Nazis who didn’t hate Jews. They just wanted to be rid of them. Arthur Balfour didn’t personally hate Jews but that didn’t stop him bring in the Aliens Act 1905 to prevent the victims of the Russian pogroms coming here. And of course he was the author of the 1917 Balfour Declaration that ‘gave’ Palestine to the Zionists. Enoch Powell didn’t hate Blacks. I know of no incident when he was offensive, on a personal level to Black people. But politically he was clearly a racist. The same with Atzmon.

    And people should be aware that I first came into contact with Atzmon when I called for a tiny group, Deir Yassin Remembered, to be ostracised. Deir Yassin has Israel Shamir on its Board of Advisors. When he was appointed Jeff Halper of the Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions, Michael Warshawski of the Alternative Information Centre and Lea Tsemel, a lawyer who has tirelessly defended Palestinians, resigned. Shamir a fully paid up far-right fruitcake. He describes Auschwitz as an internment not an extermination camp. Eisen says the evidence against gas chambers is much greater than that for. On the Nazi holocaust he say this to say, on the DYR web site:
    The Holocaust too has come under assault. Over the last fifty years, revisionist scholars have amassed a formidable body of substantial evidence, which runs in direct opposition to the traditional Holocaust narrative. “Where is the evidence,” they say, “for this alleged gargantuan mass-murder? Where are the documents? Where are the traces and remains? Where are the weapons of murder?” These revisionists all acknowledge of course, that there was a terrible assault on Jews on the part of the National Socialist government, but disagree as to the scale, motive, and methods cited in the typical narrative, a narrative that most of us choose or are obliged to accept. “What befell the Jews”, they say, “was a brutal ethnic cleansing accompanied by dispossession, pillage and massacre.” http://www.deiryassin.org/byboard18.html Anti-Semitic? Who could seriously argue otherwise.

    It was a result of criticising DYR and Shamir/Eisen that Atzmon attacked myself and other members of Jews Against Zionism as ‘elders’ in his Learned Elders of London. He described Eisen’s ‘Holocaust Wars’ as a ‘great text’ and Shamir as a ‘unique and advanced thinker’. Really the evidence is damning.

    Yes Atzmon is probably mad and certainly eccentric. Since when are these counterposed to anti-Semitism? And yes he’s a wind up artist Goodwin, but there is humour and humour and Atzmon’s is a racist humour.

    And yes Louise, Jean Calder is still around, not politically involved but she hasn’t abandoned her principles.

    What’s happened on Indymedia is depressing Derek but my impression is that the anti-Semitic creep FTP is in a distinct minority so all is not lost! The main thing is to ignore the abuse and keep fighting! Incidentally the person who put on the Brighton meeting, Francis Clarke Lowes is also a Green Party member!

    However the SWP’s position is truly unforgiveable. They of all people know what anti-Semitism is. They had a fine record of fighting racism and fascism. I was Secretary of the ANL in Brighton and worked with them in the days when we cleared the streets of the NF. For them to make apologies for Atzmon because, as has been said, he raises money for them, beggars belief.

    To Jock McTrousers I have a few comments. I agree with both Hannah Arendt and Israel Shahak. Arendt the refugee from Nazi Germany and lover of Heidigger and Israel Shahak, the childhood survivor of the Warsaw Ghetto and Belsen concentration camp. I admire both and I agree with both. Anti-Semitism has taken different forms through the ages. Nazi anti-Semitism was radically different from what went before. You had the category of Christian Jews, who the Baptists/Evangelicals of the German Reich Church barred from taking communion and from the church precincts (the Protestants had both the worst and the best among them – the Catholic Church simply said nothing about anti-Semitism). But who can forget Fr. Lichtenberg of the Catholics or Dietrich Bonhoffer, a saint if every there was one? The key battleground for the Confessing Church in Germany was the question of the Christian Jews who to the Nazis were racial Jews (though most survived). Traditional medieval anti-Semitism accepted that once a convert you were as christian as the next person.

    Yes in Poland and Eastern Europe the Jews were the middle-men. Money lenders etc. They were the oppressors of the peasants and were therefore, justifiably hated by them. Anti-Semitism does have material roots and it is idle to pretend otherwise. That is PRECISELY why today anti-Semitism is just a prejudice. It has no social roots. Of course when capitalism developed and money lenders disappeared then anti-Semitism began to disappear too. Ironically when Hitler came to power anti-Semitism was on the wane in Germany. Hitler made very few speeches between 1930 and 1933 on anti-Semitism – two I believe. Read Domarus’s collection. There were very few references. Ian Kershaw’s pathbreaking The Hitler Myth and Dissent & Popular Opinion in Nazi Germany demonstrates that anti-Semitism was considered vulgar, Krystalnacht was universally loathed (even within much of the Nazi Party). That was why there were no extermination camps on German soil. The Final Solution had to be kept secret.

    Anti-Semitism has little role to play in modern capitalism but it had a big role in societieis in transition from feudalism to capitalism. The bastion of anti-Semitism was not in Germany but Eastern Europe where the pogroms were indeed horrific (though there is clear evidence that even in the Ukraine and Baltic Republics the Nazis had to exert major efforts to trigger pogroms). Indeed I would say that Hitler and the Nazis came to power not because of but despite their anti-Semitism.

    So Jock McTrousers makes the mistake of confusing usury, medieval money lending, for banking under capitalism. I can only suggest he and others read the wonderful Jewish Question – A Marxist Interpretation by Belgian Trotskyist Abram leon who says of Zionism, that it transposed anti-Semitism to all of history and saved itself the trouble of understanding its different forms. The 2,000 year myth of eternal anti-Semitism.

    To Andy I would say that Jews, at certain times in medieval society did occupy positions of influence and privilege. In Poland they clearly did. Indeed in Arab countries they did. What did it for the Jews was when their specialist positions, agents of money in a society based on use values, eroded. As capitalism took hold so their usefulness to the ruling class disappeared and instead they became the scapegoats of yore. In England first of all then in western Europe. Having fled to the East they faced the same problem again. Trapped between the hammer of rotting feudalism and the anvil of capitalism (Leon).

    Ian Donovan is wrong. It’s not that Atzmon is reacting like some white Afrikaaner. If you read his ‘Zionism, the Bund and Jewish identity’ you will understand that despite his ‘support’ for the Palestinians he is at heart a Zionist.
    ‘While the Bund failed to grasp the obvious meaning of cosmopolitanism and universalism as an opposition to any form of racial or ethnic division within the ‘international’, early Zionists were clever enough to realise that the true meaning of nationalism can only be realised in terms of geographical orientation. For the Zionist, nationalism meant a bond between man and ‘his’ land.

    The Bund leaders naively insisted that sustaining the Yiddish language and Yiddish culture would mature into an organic awareness of national identity that would pull eastern European Jews in but would be recognised by others as a legitimate ethnic minority as well. They were obviously wrong. http://peacepalestine.blogspot.com/search?q=bund’

    And again Ian Donovan is wrong when he says Atzmon wants to abolish ‘Jewishness’ through assimilation. Firstly what is Jewishness? I suggest for Atzmon, with his world conspiracy theories, it is a code for Jewish racial identity. In fact there is no such thing. Jews differ widely, not least Jews outside and inside Israel. To make a sweeping statement such as all Jews possess this essentialist ‘Jewishness’ is to buy into these anti-Semitic concepts. It is the source of the Jewish Power thesis. Of course he doesn’t define it in terms of biology but culture or lack thereof. But some of the most sophisticated racists today do exactly that. Indeed that is where Nick Griffin came from (The Third Position). And the Jewish Power thesis? Surely I don’t have to explain that this is, at its core, fundamentally racist because it assumes Jews act as some sort of collective conspiracy. It eliminates class entirely. Yes of course some of these things appear ok to some ex-Israelis who are so disgusted at what Israel is doing. But in doing that they are inverting the attitude of Zionism to the Palestinians and claiming it as their own.

    Although I will disagree on virtually everything else with David T, he right about the SWP and Galloway. Galloway to his credit refused to appear with Atzmon. The SWP unfortunately have no shame (or principles anymore).

    Other points. Albacore is right that the Mersheimer/Walt thesis isn’t anti-Semitic. It’s just wrong! But it tends towards an anti-Semitic conclusion. Because if supporting Israel is against US national interests, then why does it do so? Sure the Christian Zionists support Zionism for what are seen as ideological/religious reasons but they only do so because they are fundamentally the most extreme pro-imperialists. For those who doubt this just go read Dylan’s ‘With God on Our Side’!!

    I fear that Michael Rosen is being optimistic about the SWP distancing themselves from Atzmon. They may criticise M&W, but they still turn a blind eye to Atzmon. (see my article on the same – http://www.cpgb.org.uk/worker/584/zionism.htm).

    |I agree entirely with Jay Woolrich’s short contribution as to the effect of Atzmon’s poisonous contributions.

    I won’t go into the debate on national identity as my contribution is already too long!

    Tony

  56. knuckles on said:

    It’s amazing how you blandly publish false details. The Atzmon meeting wasn’t cancelled, and wishing it doesn’t make it so! There was a change of venue, and the talk was filled to bursting. In the words of the man himself (who it seems you’re unable to stop obsessing about):

    http://peacepalestine.blogspot.com/2008/01/welcome-to-brighton-gilad.html

    …it was a great talk yesterday. We had the house packed, the talk took place on the upper floor in a very crowded room and was video-transmitted to the ground floor to another totally packed room.

    I met many of Greenslime’s so-called frieds who joined us in spite of him keeping warning them that they were about to be ‘poisoned’.
    (i am happy he didn’t say gassed)

    Francis spoke for 20 minutes, I spoke for 75 minutes. We then took a break and continued for another one hour and a half of questions. The spirit was great. We had some great funny moments on the expense of the righton & hove most famous xxxxxxx {I deleted a libellous comment here – Andy}

    Inshalha PR Greenslime never stops promoting me for free.

  57. Tony

    The question of whether or not Jews in mediaeval Europe and Araby enjoyed privilige and influence is a different one from whether they ever escaped pariah status. Their privilage and influence were both related to material wealth, but they were proscribed from political power or their own military protection, so they were always pariah’s in a subordinate relationsip to others; and this subaltern relationship made their position precarious with the risk of state protection being removed from them, or their wealth being expropriated – which is I would argue what happened with the pogroms in England in 1290 – far earlier than the rise of any influential bourgoisie.

    England is an example of persecution of Jews under late feudalism, and then reintrodiction of jewry into England with protection and tolerance by the state under Cromwell.

    Marxism has historically been very poor (with the exception of Otto Bauer) at addressing the imperatives of nation building as part of the rise of industrial societies. It was this early stage of nation building where the compartmentalised structures of agrarian society were deconstructed (which were inherently tolerant of cultural and religious diversity), and there was a battle to establish a hegemonic high culture within a state that was the catastrophic for the Jews, because whereas many folk cultures and minor diallects could be absorbed and assimilated (or fight to create their own state – and lenin’s concept of oppressed nations only makes sense in this period of the first emergence of capitalist nation states – colonialism is a different issue).

    Modern nationalist theories in the nineteenth century invented the thoery of racial Semitism to rationalise the existance of the Jews in their new ideological understanding of the new world of natins states.(Interestingly BTW in Germany, the first expression of modern nationalism was Johann Gottfried Herder in “Von deutscher Art und Kunst” [1773], which praised the nation and culture of the Jews as exemplary and a model for the Germans to follow.)

    But the Jews had a distinct religious faith, and considered themselves a nation, thus many of them resisted the assimilationist logic of modern nationalism – and so the birth of both anti-Semitism and Zionism. (Zionism being both a flawed response to anti-Semitism, but also the translation of the model of the modern nation state into Jewish terms)

    I would say that anti-Judaic prejudice in the early era of capitalism/nationalism was therefore a conjuncture of ancient scapegoating, along with modern nation building.

    What does this mean for Atzmon?

    Well the first thing to recognise is that although Atzmon adapts to a lot of pre-nationalist anti-Judaic prejudice (the protocols, the blood libel) – it seems to me his fundamental argument is that being Jewish is just a religious choice, and therefore any concept of a secular Jewish identity is fundamentally illegitimate. What is more, he believes that anyone seeking to have a Jewish identity is reinforcing the logic of a Jewish national state. For Atzmon it is the continuation of Jewishness which he finds offensive, hence the mockery of the signifiers.

    Now in fact it is quite possible, and indeed commonplace for folk cultures or even high (literary) cultures to exist without a nation state. Most ethnic and linguistic groups in Africa do not have their own state, and even England does not have a state.

    So the linkage with the idea of a national identity with the inevitability of a nation state is wrong by the Zionists and it is wrong by Atzmon.

  58. Well I look foward to reading your chapter Andy. I find it a bit strange that you assume that Neil ‘has’nt read the original’. I’m always intimidated by his breadth of reading, and certainly I’ve not come across that kind of accusation before. Seems a bit cheap.

    As indicated I think much contemporary work on nationalism understates the connection between nationalism and bourgoise revolution (why do I find spelling bourgoise such a problem?). I think this lies at the heart of its janus nature (facing both ways), and historicises properly the connections or in some cases the absence of such connections, between national and popular culture (although the ‘popular’ as a catagory, is a creation of the same historical period, as is the idea of the ‘public sphere’).

    I also think this provides a way into the historical connections between reformism and nationalism, which you seem to be suggesting don’t exist. As I said I look forwards to seeing what you have to say on the subject. But I also think that formulating matters in terms of bourgoise revolution allows a closer examination of the inner connections between democratic inclusion and oppression (literacy single language, and on the other hand exclusions of more local traditions etc) then conventional academic accounts which tend to focus patriotically on modernisation and democracy, or pessimistically and conservatively on modernity and homogenisation.

    Under capitalism these are moments in the same process. In an earlier discussion I’d disagreed with your attempt to distinguish between ‘proper’ nationalism’s in Europe and ‘artificial’ nationalisms in the third world, violence and ethnic conflict often being understood on the basis of ‘insufficiant nationalism’ (progressives like yourself blaming colonialism, reactionaries blaming the backward natives). Understanding nationalism as containing both democratic and homogenising elements, and understanding the tensions that arise between these elements in different situations, seems to me a good way of understanding the conflictual elements in national identity in both developed and undeveloped countries.

    In Kenya liberal commentators either suggest that the conflicts are really about class and not tribal, or on the other hand suggest that they’re just tribal and not really political. That they’re connected to the way that capitalism and nationalism developed doesn’t occur to people who presumably, at some point in their lives, have visited Glasgow or Liverpool.

    National identity is not a non-conflictual thing, it leads to conflict. Sometimes the more it develops the more does conflict. That certainly is a more accurate reflection on the relationship between the development of nationalism, democracy and ethnic conflict. Globally you don’t get less. You get more.

  59. I might be wrong, about Neil’s familiarity with bauer.

    It is not intended as a cheap comment. For some reason Otto Bauer’s work, the most comprehensive and detailed \marxist study of the national question was only first published in English translation in year 2000. Anyway, I think i have read a fair bit of Neil’s writing on the subject, and he has never referenced directly to bauer’s work, only to commentaries on it.

    (The English edition BTW is published by the University of Minnesota Press, and you have to buy it from the US)

    I did not by the way refer to nationalism in Africa as being any less ‘proper’ or more ‘articfial’ than nationalisms in Europe. I instead referred to the social context of African nationalism, which is that the post colonial states have developed a civic nationalism around the high literary cultures of the former colonial powers.

    I have never said that the nationalism there was insufficient. Rather the experience of Africa is a very useful one in understanding how nation states operate, beacsue of the very different way they have developed, without ethnic and linguistic homogenity. Specifically we may say that the African models show how Lenin’s distinction between oppressed and non-oppressed nations makes sense in the specific nation building stage of the modern European nation states (including the czarist empire) but doesn’t help us make sense of the experince of colonialism and post-colonialism in Africa,
    where the white ruling class were not involved in nation building, and the anti-colonial struggle was based upon a pan-african civic identity, not ethnicity nor language.

    You may have misunderstood my point that in the specific case of Nigeria, a coup by Nigerian nationalists was widely misunderstood to be an attempt to be an attempt to establish Christian/Ibo hegemony, because outside of the elites who had access to English, the purchase of pan-Nigerian national sentiment was at that time quite precarious. This is what led to the anti Ibo violence, and the opportunist seccession of Biafra. This was not a perjortaive judgement, just an account of what actually happned

  60. “and the anti-colonial struggle was based upon a pan-african civic identity, not ethnicity nor language”

    I think this is very problematic. If you look at some of Mamdani’s work on the tendency for post-colonial states to osscilate between a language of civic rights, based around the language of urban elites, and on the other hand a language of communitarian justice (often associated with rural social relations under colonialism), and then add some of what I’ve said about bourgoise revolutions and their relationship with nationalism, its very unclear that one can neatly divide up pan-African anti-colonialism from ethnic collaberation. Rather there is a tendency to seesaw between these modes in the construction of national identity, re-enforced by the dialectic of democratisation/homegenity charecteristic of nation-building.

    In Rwanda for example the anti-colonial struggle was merged with slogans around Hutu power which were to have fateful consequences (with many leftist historians of Rwanda turning on a dime in their assessments of the 1959 anti-colonial revolution subsequent to the terrible events of the 1990’s). Both Uganda and Kenya provide similar examples of such oscillations, and more controversially he has argued, against the grain of South African exceptionalism in academic studies, that there is no reason to think these dialectics are not operating there as well (he does not like me relate this to the logic of the bourgoise revolution but to specific features of modernity in general and the colonial structure in particular: I became fascinated whilst reading the debates created by his work because whilst most of the argument concerned logics particular to Africa, his distinction between political logics of citizen and subject is one that is found outside of the African subcontinent as well).

    Such a picture also means that in terms of broader discussions of the construction of national identity around Anglophone and Francophile culture, or on the other hand ‘nativist’ currents, the situation is best described as an osscilation: varying from place to place obviously. When Mamdani wrote about the dilemma of being forced to choose between unacceptably elite forms of cosmopolitan, and unpleasently sectarian forms of nativism, he speaks to a deeper dilemma not just of the post-colonial world but also debates about the history of many western countries IMHO. Both were products of the modern nation building, a much better paradigm then one which see’s these things in developmental terms. This also allows a moving beyond analyses which concentrates on ‘artificial borders’ constructed by colonialism and such like, important because of course what is artificial and what is not artificial shifts in relationship to these questions as anti-colonial nationalisms develop their fateful dialectic.

    I don’t think nationalism is nearly as stable an entity as those who see it as in some sense providing irreplacable bonds of solidarity (perhaps compensating for the fissures of market relations) presume. It is inherently fractured but those fractures are in turn related to discrete histories of capitalism. So whilst I fully concur with Neil’s argument that Marxists tended, when writing on the national question, to treat it more as a tactical then a theoretical question (thus leaving gaps and holes in our understanding) I disagree with the kind of view taken by those who think nationalism is some irreplacable aspect of human nature which out of dogmatism, Marxists have underplayed, artificially highlighting fractures and instabilities of national traditions.

    If anything the difficulty with Marxist analyses is that it did not explain properly the inherent instabilities and fractures of nationalism as a project. This also means that I don’t think its possible to ‘reclaim’ national traditions in the way I take it you are suggesting. Gramsci writing in the Italy of the 1920’s treated the question of nationalism and the question of bourgoise revolution as almost interchangable (linking the failures of each to each other, thus providing a way of linking these failures to the failures of capitalism), and I think he was right to do so.

    The attempt to use Gramsci to seperate these questions is I think a mistake. For all its many failures, that the far left in Britain moved away from the tendency of more stalinised versions of Marxism to hunt out the progressive side of national traditions, represented a gain and not a loss in my view.

    But obviously I await your piece with interest.

  61. David T on said:

    Michael R

    This is interesting because this completely separates the SWP from the Atzmon position without mentioning him by name.

    Oh, Atzmon doesn’t think much of the SWP. He wouldn’t describe himself as a socialist at all. When I met him last year, he was most interested in talking about a kind of extreme version of environmentalism. He was anxious to impress upon me, the environmentalist credentials of a certain central European political leader from the 1930s/40s….

    (I should add, he was charming and really rather nice in person… but very VERY eccentric. And also very VERY jewish. No shame in that.)

    Well, I mean, ask Knuckles/Atzmon himself!

    (I

    PS: This is, oddly, the best thread on national etc. identity I have read – although it isn’t the topic. Top posts Andy/Michael.

    PPS:

    Although I will disagree on virtually everything else with David T, he right about the SWP and Galloway. Galloway to his credit refused to appear with Atzmon. The SWP unfortunately have no shame (or principles anymore).

    And, grudgingly, clear and interesting post by Greenie.

  62. Jock McTrousers on said:

    “So Jock McTrousers makes the mistake of confusing usury, medieval money lending, for banking under capitalism. ” Tony

    I suppose that’s Tony Greenstein – the sheer amount of pompous effluence is his signature. It’s quite impressive really – like laying a huge, unsinkable turd. I don’t know what possessed to me to scroll through it, to find that reference to me, but, needless to say, it has no bearing on anything I said.

    I see no point in arguing the toss here, since the denizens of this blogsite are obviously uninterested in the truth, or socialism for that matter – it took me a while to cotton on that this is another covert (not so) zionist site, like Harry’s place etc. I suppose Galloway will have to get rid of you lot soon, since you obviously won’t get along with the moslem element in Respect Renewal, or whatever it’s called this week. I don’t know why they ever entertained the AWL or CPGB in the first place – desperation, I suppose.

    But a couple of parting shots – anyone who DOESN’T know international banking is owned and controlled by certain Jewish families; and that they bankroll the most powerful lobby in the US; and that they exert that influence to further their own elite interests, not those of Jews generally – anyone who doubts that is just ignorant or stupid. I suspect Tony is neither, but a (not very) covert zionist saboteur.

    And the fact that the Rothschilds recently hired serial shiller Niall Ferguson to write a 2-volume PR job for them is a promising sign – they could be getting desperate!

  63. Actually John

    I agree with most of what you have written in #72, and I think the gap in theroetical background over the national question between us is smaller than it might appear on the surface – though it does lead to different conclusions.

    I would certainly agree that there are inherent instabilities and fractures within nationalism, though I would argue that the construction of nation states, and the ideological and consciousness building of “nationalities” was an indispensible part of the creation of modern industrial societies (and not unique to capitalism as we have seen nation building in non-capitalist countries).

    But the fight for socialism in taking place in the world of nations, and where nationality is a hegemonic form of consciousness. Working within our nationally specific cultural and political contexts should also involve a contest about the traditions of our national cultures, rather than simply counterposing to them a cosmopolitan internationalism.

    You are right that this comes down to a Gramscian conception that the working class needs to establish a hegemonic alliance, where the interests of the working class are seen to represent the interests of the whole of society. And as our current societites are dividided into nation states, and therefore politics is at a national level, and there is a lot of shared culture at the national level, then the working class movement needs to construct popular alliances at the national level, simulataneous with internationalism.

    I see thereofre nothing wrong with the argument that Britain should not have participated in the Iraq war, as it was against national interest. We can of course dispute what the national interest is.

  64. goodwin sands on said:

    @74: “anyone who DOESN’T know international banking is owned and controlled by certain Jewish families; and that they bankroll the most powerful lobby in the US”

    Ah, again international finance is in the hands of Jews.

    And I had no idea that international Jewry was responsible for the American Association of Retired Persons, universally recognized as the most powerful lobby in the US, or the National Rifle Association, generally considered the runner-up.

  65. BTW JOhn G

    Doesn’t Ernest Gellner’s flawed but very influential account include a thorough discussion of bourgeoise revolutions (though not using the same terminology as marxists would) in the task of building nation states.

  66. David T on said:

    I’m an anti-Zionist. Indeed, I’m on record as such, in a document in which I stand alongside Mr Rosen and Mr Greenstein.

    I’m not, however, an idiot or lunatic: and so I’d no more support the subjection of Israeli jews to the rule of those who would oppress or kill them, than I would support the continued occupation of the West Bank.

    I favour a Middle East (and indeed a world) in which populations self-determine on any basis they choose, consistent with respect for human rights, equality, and democracy. I would hope that those free self-governing populations would take steps to pool their sovereignty: by establishing regional unions with common institutional decision making structures, providing for common labour and welfare rights, mutually lowering tariffs, and by establishing regional citizenship rights and the free movement of persons. Countries in the Middle East would be free to opt in, or out, of such a regional union.

    I’d recommend this solution. It has worked rather well in Europe. Unlike a violent revolution, this has a better chance of protecting regional minorities, assisting a move away from sectarianism, and securing the a prosperous secure future for all the peoples of the Middle East.

    Any fellow anti-Zionists want to join with me.

  67. Well I think they key point to recognise is that the israelis are not going anywhere else, and after fifty years they have built a nation and have a better claim to the land they live in (pre 1948 borders) as anyone else.

    But I still think that the “two states” solution is no solution; because the Palestinian state so offered is not economically nor politically viable; and since Oslo Israel has displayed such amazing bad faith.

    It is however hard to see the Israelis changing without the withdrawl of unconditional US support for whatever lunacy they come up with.

  68. Just in order that it doesn’t get too cosy (!).

    1. I think the phrase ‘modern industrial society’ is an empty one, its origins being among sociologists who did not want to talk about capitalism (although it was also used to extend the range of cases their ‘modernisation theory’ could be applied to). Obviously being a state cap I’m less quick to identify ‘non-capitalist societies’, but in any case, the compulsions to industrialise are driven everywhere by the existance of a global capitalist system (we would not have any modern industrial societies without this), and in relationship to the argument about nationalism, its emergence is clearly closely related to the emergence of societies were consumption is subordinated to accumulation for the first time in human history, and associated changes. It would be possible to reject state cap, and still hold roughly to this position. I’m a ‘modernist’ in this sense, and I think thats the key divide in the debate (ie one camp use the existence of nationalism in socialist states to argue that its a transhistorical phenomenan another camp would not).

    2. In the second case (and this is following on from a point made by Mike), its unclear to me that ‘working within national and specific contexts’ (one certainly hopes so) means being a nationalist, or on the other hand accepting the nation state as a main frame of reference. Anymore then (for instance) recognising the ubiquity of capitalism means accepting its historical universality. You can have good or bad, abstract or concrete, interventions regardless (sometimes recognising the reality of linguistic, ethnic or other forms of oppression and their relationship to dominant state nationalism, means attacking the myths of nationalism…its worth recalling that Gramsci, who certainly took nationalism seriously, also energetically argued for the fraudulence of the official Italian one: not in relationship to an imaginary authentic or genuine nationalism, but in relationship to what he saw as the historical tasks of nationalism). He certainly was not one to suggest that because certain things were strongly felt we should treat them as unarguable. In actual fact some of the things he said about peasents, language and dialects (the majority of the Italian population) are I think, if anything, a bit strong.

    Arguing that the interests of the working class are the interests that can take society foward is basic for most Marxists. In the 1970’s Anderson, in an article called ‘antinomies of Antonio Gramsci’ argued that he was a much more conventional Leninist then was usually thought, seeing himself as arguing a straightfowardly orthodox position as against the reformists, the syndicalists and the ultra-lefts in the Italy of his time (ironically its possible that people misread Gramsci because they are not being Gramscian enough to take seriously his historical concrete location). Socialism is after all the answer, and we have to find a way to make that seem practicable to people.

    But its important to remember that the working class in both Italy and in Russia was a tiny minority of the economically active population. Also that what Marxists have traditionally referred to as the tasks of the bourgoise revolution, were central political questions of the day (and not just for Marxists). Without wishing to be too vulgar this is hardly the case in Britain today (however much certain aspects of the British state appear to be anachronistic, however much we debate exactly who is to be defined as a worker and not, the new middle class etc).

    There is the worry that, for some on the left, posing questions as if our central tasks were to complete the unfinished business of the 17th century, is really a compensation for difficulties confronting us in terms of the balence of class forces in the era of neo-liberalism, rather then a natural conclusion about Britain’s historical situation. Gramsci’s analyses was not a short cut in this sense, but an attempt to make sure that the ideological significance of actually existing class struggles was understood properly. In other words not a substitute for them.

    Finally on the question of the ‘national interest’. Well if someone said it was against the national interest you wouldn’t catch me hopping up and down demanding to make a tedious contribution along the lines of ‘what the comrade fails to understand’, but in general I think its better to talk about our hospitals and schools and raise questions about the system we live in, rather then talk about the ‘national interest’. One reason relates to the debate about Mearshimer et al. The big difficulty with their discussion of ‘national interest’ is that they don’t understand the US state in terms of its relationship to global capitalism. This supposedly obvious word can have any meaning you like, and that is really where the problem starts with their argument.

    Of course people frequently use a language of national interest and its a language thats ready to hand. But there are frequently situations were socialists have to go beyond these languages. Its not, in the end, as hopeless as it seems, because if nationalism is indeed part of the way that capitalism organises itself, so is globalisation. Gramsci was concerned with the most effective way of challenging the ‘common sense’ of the system. I think there is a danger in your argument of treating the fact that it is ‘the common sense’ as an argument for never challenging it. Although these may just be rhetorical flourishes.

  69. I’m about to have another look at Gellner Andy cheers. Of course its hardly an original point in any case. But in all the recent discussion of modernity I think its something thats been forgotten. I’m partly inspired by Neil Davidson’s arguments on the subject, and I find myself more and more thinking that this is the missing link in many contemporary discussions of modernity, identity etc.

    But I won’t be at all surprised to discover I’m re-inventing the wheel. This happens about once every five years I understand.

  70. JOhn I am not sure who you are plemicising against in #82? :o)

    I don’t think anyine is advocating nationalism.

    For example Tommy Sheridan put it quite well when he was described as a Scottish nationalist, he said not, he is a socialist and an internationalist who wants to see a socialist Scottish republic.

    Nor is anyone here endorsing the idea of an unfinished revolution. There are peculiartiies of the British state related to its 17th centuary origin, and Perry Andersonn is prbably correct that the mystifiation of the process of fomation of the UK has led to a popular indifferecne and intellectual empiricism towards constitional matters: but the project of breaking the Empire state up and gaining national independence for wales, England and Scotland is an entirely 21st century one.

    But for the record, I do think Davidson has made a very importnat contribution to the debate, particularly in the first chapter of “The origins of scottish nationhood”

  71. Tony Greenstein on said:

    Andy,

    I know that Hannah Arendt talked about the Jew as a Pariah, but I’m not sure it was was particularly helpful. What was clear was that within the different estates of feudalism, Jews had the place of a caste. They were no different from similar groups in other parts of the world, like the Chinese of SE Asia who were indeed called the Jews of Asia.

    True the Jews had little political power, but who did under absolutism? Certainly not the peasantry. We have to remember that such a society was wholly different from todays and Jews occupied a niche, a precarious niche, but one which was more comfortable than that of someone tilling the land and paying dues to the noble, via the local Jewish tax collector.

    Yes the beginning of capitalism and the slow end of capitalism in England, the Jews were expelled (or most of them) and likewise with the rise of mercantilism, the colonial age of capitalism, they were reintroduced by Cromwell just as he was pillaging Ireland and committing the massacres at Drogheda.

    I think we have to distinguish between the rise of bourgeois nationalism, as in France, which swept away the ghetto walls, emancipated the Jews etc. and the consequent reaction. Many, e.g. in Germany, saw emancipation of the Jews as a consequence of French imperialism and their reaction was therefore that rights for Jews was a foreign imposition.

    But no sooner had the nation formed as it were then reaction often set in. Why? Because all these nations were also imperialist/colonialist nations for one thing, or they were fighting for their own freedom as in Hungary at one and the same time as they were also fighting to oppress national minorities. In the very act of achieving liberation, nationalism defines the other, in particular the minorities within. It is only after this initial phase that we see a relatively liberal and tolerant phase, beginning really with the end of the second world war, and even then it is a consequence of changing imperial fortunes, decline of empire and a shift in the parameters of racism from internal minorities to those associated with that empire.

    It is also the case, and France is an excellent example, where anti-Semitism became a weapon in the hands of the right to divide the workers’ movement and achieve a hegemony of its own. In the Dreyfuss case we saw the magnificent rise of opposition to the frame-up, led by Emile Zola where over half the French nation rejected the reactionary attempt to use the case of Dreyfuss to attack all Jews. And they were successful. Little wonder that Herzl could say that in Paris he began to understood and pardon anti-Semitism. His was a wholly defeatist attitude common to Zionism.

    Indeed and ironically, at the same time as the Nazis came to power in Germany, for entirely different reasons from anti-Semitism (anti-Communism, Versailles, depression etc.) anti-Semitism was on the wane. The Nazis had to fight very hard to convince people of anti-Semitism and there is little evidence they succeeded. What they did establish was a terror state where evincing sympathy with the Jews when, e.g. they were forced to wear the yellow star in 1941, merited a spell in the concentration camps.

    In short nationalism is a 2 edged sword. On the one hand it seeks a universalist solution to the particularism of late feudalism but on the other hand the rising capitalist class doesn’t want to share power with the workers (the mob) and begins to look around for scapegoats. In France the Constituent Assembly abolished slavery but Napoleon fought a war to reestablish French dominion over Santo Domingo.

    It simply is not true that the Jews considered themselves a nation. The foundation stone of Reform Judaism was that it was anti-national. Sir Edwin Montagu, the only Jew in Lloyd George’s war cabinet, was also the only member to oppose the Balfour Declaration. It was only the sponsorship of British imperialism that led to the Board of Deputies (narrowly) backing the Declaration for the simple reason that you can’t be a member of 2 nations. The obvious implication of establishing a Jewish national homeland was that all Jews should ‘go back there’, which is why Montagu’s paper to the Cabinet was entitled
    ‘Memorandum of Edwin Montagu on the Anti-Semitism of the Present (British) Government’.

    This is really important because it underlies the whole thesis of the anti-Zionist analysis. Jews were NOT a separate nation and nor did they see themselves as such. Indeed when Theodore Herzl sought to hold the first Zionist Congress in 1897 he chose Munich, but the Jewish community protested vigorously to the authorities against what they saw as an anti-Semitic provocation. It was therefore moved to Basle in Switzerland.

    The Jews of Eastern Europe were a different matter. They did see themselves, or some did, as a separate national minority, but in Europe, not Palestine. They had territorial contiguity, they had a language (Yiddish) and an Ashekanzi culture. But their main political representatives were the Bund, not the Zionists, who were anti-Zionist. And between 1850 and 1914, when some 3 million Jews emigrated from Eastern Europe on account of the pogroms and poverty less than 1% went to Palestine. The USA was the chosen destination, so this idea of a Jewish nation seeking its homeland is an idea born of Zionist rewriting of history (and incidentally is something that Atzmon also sees as making Zionism correct in his polemical article against the Bund, ‘The Politics of Anti-Semitism: Zionism, the Bund and Jewish Identity Politics’ ‘early Zionists were honest enough to admit that on the eve of the 20th century, there was not much in Jewish secular life to be proud of (either culturally or spiritually).’ http://www.gilad.co.uk/html%20files/bund.htm

    I would therefore disagree that ‘anti-Judaic prejudice in the early era of capitalism/nationalism was therefore a conjuncture of ancient scapegoating, along with modern nation building’ it was the use of the past as a means of reinforcing the most reactionary and anti-working class movements, not least fascism, of early capitalism.

    Nor is it true that Atzmon’s ‘fundamental argument is that being Jewish is just a religious choice, and therefore any concept of a secular Jewish identity is fundamentally illegitimate.’ What he argues is that Zionism is that secular identity and there is no other identity. In that he mirrors what the Zionists themselves say – and both are wrong.

    But yes, it is true that ‘the linkage with the idea of a national identity with the inevitability of a nation state is wrong by the Zionists and it is wrong by Atzmon.’ But not for the reasons given by Andy!

    Tony

  72. anticapitalista on said:

    Tony Greenstein

    Have you read about the Thessaloniki Jews?
    I’m not sure where they would fit in the picture under Ottoman rule ’til 1912 and then incorporated into the Greek state until their almost total liquidation at the hands of the Nazis in WWII (they were sent to Auschwitz).

    They don’t seem to fit into your description of Jews in Western or Eastern Europe.

  73. Yeshiya ben Azriel on said:

    #66 and related posts

    “Jock McTrousers” exposes himself once again by calling Greenstein a “covert zionist saboteur”.

    He, along with Knucklehead actually promote the interests of one predatory group of capitalists against their business rivals.
    This position has nothing to do with socialism whatsoever.

    Indeed, it leads to justifying racist and religious bigotry by wrapping it in a ‘red’ flag.

    Such politics mainly have an appeal to elements of the middle class and upper classes, even those who classify themselves as “radicals”.
    But historically, such views have not been popular amongst organised workers.

    The Knucklehead, who is a historical illiterate, is a supporter of the idea of ‘populist holocausts’ that take place without being organised by the elites.

    This makes him a useful accomplice of forces within the ruling class who are toying with the idea of organising another one.

    Whether he and McT are already on the payroll, or simply displaying their wares on the catwalk, socialists should deal with them accordingly.

  74. Blimey Tony,
    The analogy with the SE Asia Chinese may have worked without 1500 years of Christian history in Europe.

  75. Tony

    Given the status of Jewry as having a subaltern folk culture, they had two choices in the era of modern nationalism and the birth of capitalism: assimilation or seeking to become a nation.

    This was not a choice unique to the Jews, it was the basic choice of all sub cultures. We are tallking in generalities, and unless we both wnat to write a book, we can both find particular cases which prove things one way or the other.

    My understanding, certainly in the Middle ages Jewry conceived of themselves as a chosen people, and therefore a nation in the sense it held before the birth of modern nationalism.

    Of course what was also possible was semi-assimilation, whereby people could maintain a Jewish identity, but still identify with the nation state they lived in, either because in countries like France nationalism was based upon civic republicanism, or Britain where there was no attempt to define the United Kingdom in terms of homogenous culture.

    BUt in other specific contexts of nationalism, where there were attempts to build nations based upon ethnicity (Poland springs to mind) the Jews were unable to either semi-assimilate nor able to create a state. hence Zionism. (They were able of course to fully assimilate by renouncing Jewishness altogether.

    So my argument stands, despite the fact you can find other contexts where that logic didn’t prevail.

    Over what Atzmon says, Ii think you are splitting hairs.

    I say Atzmon finds the whole concept of Jewish identity illegitimate because he beleives it is a form of national identity and all forms of national identity find expression in the political ideal of a nation state, specifically for Jews, the state of Israel.

    You telescope the argument to say Atzmon finds the whole concept of Jewish identity illegitimate because that inevitably leads to the political ideal of a Jewish nation state, specifically Zionism

    Are they substantially different?

  76. Tony Greenstein on said:

    To ‘anticapitalista’. No I haven’t heard of the Thessaloniki Jews or at least I don’t think so. Leon mentions the Donmeh and other groups who when they stopped their particularist specialisations, agents of money in an era of use values, then they assimilated.

    There are many specific examples. Christopher Browning, in his latest book on the the Final Solution, sorry I haven’t got the title to hand, mentioned how in Russian occupied territory the Nazis were surprised to find that there were many agricultural Jews. I would suggest that they were in the process of assimilating.

    Tim expresses surprise at mention of the Chinese traders in SE Asia. But remember that in e.g. Malaya they were subject to much the same stereotypes. Indeed the Scots, especially the lowlanders, were also traders (as well as raiders!) hence the stereotypes about ‘canny’ ‘mean’ Scots etc.

    The point I am making is that contrary to Zionist assertions, anti-Semitism did have material roots. It is not something that was ‘always there’ because if indeed there is an unbroken 2,000 years of anti-Semitism, as Zionist idealogues like Leon Pinsker claims then the obvious question is ‘why the Jews?’. And it must inevitably come back to Atmon and others’ belief that there was something about the Jews that make people hate them.

    The argument that it was all about Christianity is equally unhelpful. Not just because at certain times the Bishops in e.g. Poland protected them, alongside the nobility but how does it explain today’s lack of anti-Semitism among Christians (except the Christian Zionists!)? Indeed even during World War II many Christians like the Archbishop of Bulgaria and Denmark played exemplorary roles. And I forgot to say in the above posting that contrary to Zionist assertions that anti-Semitism can’t be fought that it was precisely the fight against Dreyfuss which introduced opposition to anti-Semitism against the reactionary aristocratic/military/clerical caste and that resulted in 75% of French Jews surviving the Nazi holocaust. Indeed one of the tragedies in France was the isolation of the Ost Juden, who were primarily those who were liquidated. Or the record in Italy, where the fight for national unification, which included the Jews, tore down the ghetto walls of the Papal states. Not only did 85% of Italian Jews survive the Holocaust but despite Mussolini, when he turned to anti-Semitism, the record of the Italian army was magnificent. In Greece, they occupied Salonika until the establishment of the Salo Republic, Italian soldiers actually went into the German zone and claimed from the concentration camps Jewish women who they said were their wives. And in France the South, Nice etc. which was occupied by the Italians, became a safe zone for Jews who evacuated with the Italian army.

    I entirely agree with Yeshiya ben Azriel. This idea of international Jewish bankers today is absurd. Rothschilds is but minor fry and it is the socialism of fools (Bebel) to focus on Jewish bankers and capitalists. Knucklehead has nothing to say of substance and nor do the rest of the anti-semitic knuckleheads, Atzmon etc.

    There is little doubt that Israel Shamir, whom Atzmon originally leapt to defend, is an Israeli state asset as well as being a fascist. It would be no surprise if the same turns out to be true of Atzmon too.

    Tony

  77. Yeshiya ben Azriel on said:

    #87 Tim – “The analogy with the SE Asia Chinese may have worked without 1500 years of Christian history in Europe.”

    For once Tim the Troll says something worth discussing. But like all analogies it’s imperfect, at least for the reason that China continued to exist as a state throughout recorded history, so they weren’t part of a diaspora in the same way as the Jews. The Parsees might be a better analogy, although they are fewer in number and more socially homogenous than Jewish populations in Europe, North Africa and the Middle East.

    But it does prove my point in #86, because the massacres of ethnic Chinese in Indonesia were organised by the military with the complicity of the CIA, as part of an anti-communist withchunt.

  78. anticapitalista on said:

    Tony

    There is a very good book by Mark Mazower called
    “Thessaloniki, City of Ghosts”
    You might enjoy it.

    You are right about the Italian occupation of Greece not being anti-semitic and in several cases it challenged the anti-semitism of the Nazi occupied areas of Greece ie Thessaloniki(after April 1941) where most Jews lived . Not just from the ‘ordinary’ soldier, but even from out and out fascist commanders. Many Jews who lived on (or managed to escape to) the Ionian islands, Zakinthos, Corfu, Kefalonia, survived.
    In Thessaloniki well over 90% of the city’s 60,000 Jewish population perished.

    The Archbishop of Thessaloniki ‘backed’ the deportation of the Thessaloniki Jews to Auschwitz (and Treblinka), unlike the one in Athens. (Damaskinos)

    The Greek Resistance also managed to save many Jews, and many Jews joined the Resistance.

  79. Yeshiya ben Azriel on said:

    #89 Tony Greenstein “I entirely agree with Yeshiya ben Azriel.”

    Wow, drum-roll! I think this could be a first.

    On the question of “popular” anti-Semitism in Eastern Europe, people really ought to think seriously about that.
    Jews lived in Poland for close to 1,000 years and generally had a favourable position due to their alliance with the Polish nobility, the Szlachta.
    This was a suprisingly large section of Polish society, compromising up to 20% of the population and also very religiously tolerant.

    The most severe existential threats to Jews in Poland occurred during the Khmelnytsky revolt and came from Ukrainian Cossacks and Tatars, due to their role as tax gatherers and intermediaries for the nobility.

    Secondly, after the Russian partition of Poland as a result of Tsarist policies, particularly following the assassination of Alexander II in 1881, when a policy of pogroms and official state anti-semitism began, which led to a mass exodus to North America and Western Europe.

    Thirdly, during the Nazi invasion and its aftermath, when the Jewish population welcomed the Red Army, whereas the Polish Nationalists didn’t.

    So, in fact, Polish antisemitism, while it existed and had roots in the role of the Jews in Polish feudalism, was never a great threat.
    Quite the reverse, Poland provided a very secure home to the Jews for a whole millenium, which the holocause effectively destroyed.

  80. It was not just the existence of China as a state.
    I don’t think theres any Blood libel or Jews killed Christ stuff to compare either.
    A stereotype like Fagin only works if you combine capitalism,waves of religious intolerance and Judewish migration/stereotype.
    Similar Chinese stereotypes are power and money cliches.

  81. knuckles on said:

    We had some great funny moments on the expense of the righton & hove most famous xxxxxxx {I deleted a libellous comment here – Andy}

  82. Giladknuckles.
    Why did you believe that Galloway was in the House of Commons on a “Vote against te Iraq War” rather than share a platform with you?
    Did you ever check?
    I know Martin Smith tried to butter you up,but really.
    Bit of a naive idiot are you?
    And a year later you were still claiming the same thing.
    Oh dear.

  83. knuckles on said:

    Hey, Jews Against Freedom of Speech, have a look at this hilarious thread, where Greenie is thoroughly castigated for putting out the FALSE info that the event had been cancelled:
    http://forums.e-democracy.org/groups/bh/messages/topic/6VdRHcprmRPYXS7GNIXdwV

    From one member of the audience:
    Very glad to hear it went ahead, even if I missed it due to last
    week’s misinformation about its cancellation not being corrected.
    Presumably Greenstein knew it was in fact on and chose not to inform
    us. He was uncharacteristically silent – after bombarding us with so
    much cliche and rhetoric against the speaker. How very typically
    jewish! Or should I say Israeli? It’s a fine distinction it seems to
    me, as most jews I’ve met (admittedly not a huge or necessarily
    representative number) are supportive of Israel and its existence in
    Palestine – and therefore its brutal oppression of the Palestinians.
    It would have been interesting to hear from an Israeli with a
    different point of view. And if that makes me antisemitic, then I’m
    proud to be antisemitic!

    I suspect that “had the protesters been there they might have asked
    some probing questions” is overly optimistic. I think they would have
    tried to prevent him speaking – and that they would have been far more
    likely to acquiesce to Stalin’s purges than Joyce would (to extend
    Greenstein’s preposterous and warped analogy even further!).

    and to Tony:
    What a thoroughly obnoxious person you are! Blinded by your self-
    righteousness and hatred, all you can do is hurl abuse. I don’t think
    you are worth speaking to. Apologise or go to hell….

    From another attender:
    Those concerned with freedom of speech might be interested to know that the
    talk did go ahead and was very well attended . I had another commitment that evening so
    was unsure whether I would attend , but after the posts on this site decided I had to go
    to find out for myself , and I am very glad I did. The evening was stimulating,
    challenging and thought-provoking. Most of the talk was on the relationship between music and ethics and about Gilad’s growing up in Israel . There was then a long time given over
    to questions and discussion , (and it did occur to me that had the protesters been
    there they might have asked some probing questions ) . I have not read anything by
    Gilad Atzmon but can say that I saw and heard nothing that could be termed
    “anti-Semitic” (and of course there are lots of ways of defining that …. ) . Nor did I come away on one “side” or the other, the issues are far too complex . It was good to engage in thoughtful and difficult debate rather than cliches and I was challenged,
    stimulated and left with many questions and much to continue to think about .

  84. So Knuckles/Gilad

    rather undermining your claim that you are not anti-Semitic you post here approvingly someone saying the following:

    Presumably Greenstein knew it was in fact on and chose not to inform
    us. He was uncharacteristically silent – after bombarding us with so
    much cliche and rhetoric against the speaker. How very typically
    jewish! Or should I say Israeli? It’s a fine distinction it seems to
    me,
    as most jews I’ve met (admittedly not a huge or necessarily
    representative number) are supportive of Israel and its existence in
    Palestine – and therefore its brutal oppression of the Palestinians.

    You really are vile.

  85. goodwin sands on said:

    Knuckles isn’t Gilad, just a factotum. But you’re right, when a guy like Gilad responds to (what he sees as) hypocrisy with “How very typically Jewish”, and his supporters don’t bat an eyelid, that says quite a bit about the current state of the Palestinian solidarity movement.

  86. goodwin sands on said:

    Correction — reading the thread again, that wasn’t (this time) Atzmon’s antisemitic comment but that of one of his supporters.

  87. knuckles on said:

    Listen Sands, it was a person in Brighton who would have LIKED to attend the talk, not Gilad,who said ‘how very typically jewish. Got that? Here it is again…

    “Very glad to hear it went ahead, even if I missed it due to last
    week’s misinformation about its cancellation not being corrected.
    Presumably Greenstein knew it was in fact on and chose not to inform
    us. He was uncharacteristically silent – after bombarding us with so
    much cliche and rhetoric against the speaker. How very typically
    Jewish!…”

    But check out this link below, Sands, and let me know if it’s typically Jewish to support genocide, and whether in your opinion there is any actual difference between Adolf Hitler and your leading rabbi Metzger????????? Is Metzger JEWISH or not?

    http://www.jpost.com/servlet/Sat…icle% 2FShowFull

    Chief rabbi thanks Bush for ‘war against Iraq’
    MATTHEW WAGNER, Jerusalem Post
    January 9, 2008

    During a short verbal exchange Wednesday at the Ben-Gurion Airport Terminal, Chief Ashkenazi Rabbi Yona Metzger thanked President George W. Bush for the US’s military intervention in Iraq.

    “I want to thank you for your support of Israel and in particular for waging a war against Iraq,” Metzger told Bush, according to the chief rabbi’s spokesman.

    Bush reportedly answered that the chief rabbi’s words “warmed his heart.”

  88. goodwin sands on said:

    Missed the correction, did you? Feel a but silly, do you?

    And you’re perfectly fine of course with the comment “how very typically Jewish”? You seem to be.

    And you really can’t see any difference between what Metzger said — which is wrong, but not genocidal — versus what Hitler says — which was both wrong and genocidal? Has your hyperbole run away with you?

    And you really don’t think there’s the slightest ethical problem when Gilad Atzmon says that we may as well consider “Protocols of the Elders of Zion” true because it accurately describes American Jewry?

    And you really don’t think there’s the slightest ethical problem when Atzmon says that it’s the Jews fault the Nazis hated them?

    And you really don’t think there’s the slightest ethical problem when Atzmon distributes Paul Eisen’s essay promoting Holocaust denial, and then says he has only “slight differences” with it?

    And you really don’t think there’s a slight ethical problem when Atzmon embraces the “the Jews killed Christ” theme that led to so many medieval — and not so medieval — pogroms?

  89. knuckles on said:

    You got it wrong again, Sands. How do you know it was one of Gilad’s ‘supporters’ ?????

    The person was someone who would have liked to hear what Gilad to say, and quite capable of deciding for himself whether he supports the view or not. Greenslime’s mission in life is to prevent people from Gilad’s views because he has a personal vendetta against the man, and for no other reason at all.

    Sands and the rest of the SU and JSF crew however, would rather have Greenstein, xxxxxxx LIBELLOUS COMMENT DELETED xxxxxx , telling them which views are ETHICAL enough for their sensitive jewish ears! What a massive joke you are. And how VERY typical!!!!

  90. goodwin sands on said:

    You’re digging quite a hole here, knuckles. I expected no less.

    You’re now claiming that Socialist Unity is a Jewish site? That’s certainly the implication of the sentence “Sands and the rest of the SU and JSF crew however … their sensitive jewish ears!”

    Given a choice between someone with an ancient criminal record followed by decades of service to the progressive community, on one hand, and a guy who says anti-semitic things for fun and has only “slight differences” with a twenty-thousand-word slab of Holocaust denial propaganda, who is in a better position to talk about ethics?

    The Palestinian solidarity movement has a choice to make. It has to decide whether it will or will not accept anti-semitism with its ranks. As long as Atzmon isn’t rebuffed, the decision is to accept anti-semitism, or to excuse it, or to pretend it isn’t there. In doing so, you walk straight into the hands of those who want to equate the support of Palestinians with anti-semitism.

    But it seems that the Palestinian solidarity movement is now standing, shouting, “WE WANT AN OWN GOAL! WE WANT AN OWN GOAL! PLEASE CONSIDER US ANTISEMITES!”

  91. knuckles on said:

    Sands: And you really can’t see any difference between what Metzger said — which is wrong, but not genocidal — versus what Hitler says — which was both wrong and genocidal?

    knuckles: I see no difference at all between hitler and metzger, except that metzger has more chutzpah and pretends to be a holy man. Of course metzger supports genocide, and he would like to see more of the same in Iran. He supports the concentration camp known as GAZA too. What’s the basic difference between M and hitler, except for the beard?????

    And you really don’t think there’s the slightest ethical problem when Gilad Atzmon says that we may as well consider “Protocols of the Elders of Zion” true because it accurately describes American Jewry?

    That’s not what he actually said, but yes, I think that piece of Atzmon writing is one of his BEST. It certainly gives great insight into the antisocial behaviour of the Greensteins, Maccoby’s and Rances of this world, non???

    And you really don’t think there’s the slightest ethical problem when Atzmon says that it’s the Jews fault the Nazis hated them?

    Where does he say that? Provide the ACTUAL quote please. Oh you are Soooooo typical! Been sucking on Greenie’s story a bit too long now, haven’t you Sands, it’s got you rather confused.

    And you really don’t think there’s the slightest ethical problem when Atzmon distributes Paul Eisen’s essay promoting Holocaust denial, and then says he has only “slight differences” with it?

    yes indeed, I regard Paul as an ethical man whose work deserves to be very well distributed, but then again, I’m not a FASCIST with an agenda to shut up anyone I don’t agree with, unlike you. Once again, try providing the evidence that Paul promotes holocaust denial.

    And you really don’t think there’s a slight ethical problem when Atzmon embraces the “the Jews killed Christ” theme that led to so many medieval — and not so medieval — pogroms?

    Not really. Who do you imagine killed Christ, the Germans? 🙂 the Palestinians? 🙂

    I’m more concerned with who is killing the son and daughters of Jesus, who was himself a Palestinian. I have a problem with your leading rabbi thanking the embodiment of the anti-christ for killing millions of people. I really don’t give a fuck who killed who 2000 years ago, or even 60 years ago.

  92. knuckles on said:

    why shold I care if u r jewish or not, sands? What is ‘jewish’ anyway? It’s not a race, it’s not a religeon, it’s some kind of identity who may or may not have taken on.

    But here’s a response from the person who would have LIKED to attend the Monday evening talk, but who believed Greenie’s assurances about it being cancelled, and who later made the ‘typically jewish’ comment……… Take note, Sands:

    http://forums.e-democracy.org/groups/bh/messages/topic/6VdRHcprmRPYXS7GNIXdwV

    “Are you seriously suggesting that if I say you are typically british
    for drinking tea, for example, that I deserve to be labelled racist
    scum, or a stone-dwelling creature – something less than human and
    therefore, presumably, ripe for extermination? Perhaps you’d prefer to
    make an example of me and have me crucified!

    But seriously.. if we are honest with ourselves, then we are all
    racist to varying degrees, but for some reason it’s ok to mock the
    french for eating frog’s legs, but satirise jews and this is the kind
    of hysterical reaction you provoke…….

  93. Yeshiya on said:

    Knuckles, I think I have a solution to your “Jewish Identity” problems.

    Why not develop a rockabilly outlaw image and join the Satmar Hassidim?

    Sorted.

    P.S.

    My advice would be DON’T offer your seat on the plane to anyone.

  94. goodwin sands on said:

    knuckles: “I see no difference at all between hitler and metzger, except that metzger has more chutzpah and pretends to be a holy man.”

    “More chutzpah than Hitler.” What a bonkers thing to say.

    If you can’t see the difference, then you need to read a little WWII history. In the process you’ll discover just how silly you sound. When someone says that Israel is like Nazi Germany, all they’re really saying is “I either don’t know much about Israel, Nazi Germany, or maybe both.”

    knuckles: “I think that piece of Atzmon writing is one of his BEST. It certainly gives great insight into the antisocial behaviour of the Greensteins, Maccoby’s and Rances of this world, no?”

    Only if you think a repackaged version of one of Hitler’s favorite books is “great insight.” You’re letting your hatred for a few Jews cause you to say much broader and much more troubling things. Atzmon is exploiting very well-known anti-semitic imagery to get you to hate certain Jews. It’s really amazing that a “progressive” like you can’t see what’s wrong with that.

    knuckles: “Once again, try providing the evidence that Paul promotes holocaust denial.”

    Read the goddamned essay, knuckles. It’ll open your eyes. It’s textbook stuff.

    http://www.zundelsite.org/zundel_persecuted/may20-05_eisen.html

    knuckles: “Who do you imagine killed Christ, the Germans? the Palestinians?”

    Try the Roman occupiers.

    knuckles: “I really don’t give a fuck who killed who 2000 years ago, or even 60 years ago.”

    Ah. “Ah. Holocaust — who gives a fuck?” Is that a fair statement of your stance, knuckles? You’re continuing to demonstrate the sort of person one has to be to support Atzmon.

  95. goodwin sands on said:

    knuckles: “why shold I care if u r jewish or not, sands?”

    Sorry, no, no backpedalling. I wouldn’t be asking that question if you hadn’t decided to call me and this site “Jewish.” I’m simply trying to find out what you mean by it. If you didn’t care, you wouldn’t have bothered to write it and post it.

  96. knuckles on said:

    sands: Read the goddamned essay, knuckles. It’ll open your eyes. It’s textbook stuff.

    knuckles: oh, I’ve read the essay, little one. Now come up with the written EVIDENCE of holocaust denial you claim is part of that text. You are making a lot of accusations here. Now back them up.

    knuckles: “I see no difference at all between hitler and metzger, except that metzger has more chutzpah and pretends to be a holy man.”

    “More chutzpah than Hitler.” What a bonkers thing to say.

    knuckles: Indeed! By the way, do you know that “metzger” means BUTCHER in German?

  97. knuckles on said:

    sands:
    Sorry, no, no backpedalling. I wouldn’t be asking that question if you hadn’t decided to call me and this site “Jewish.” I’m simply trying to find out what you mean by it…

    knuckles: I didn’t actually “call” you jewish, which you seem to regard it as some sort of insult. You are however a regular of JSF, which is very, VERY jewish, very TYPICAL, and very insular.

  98. knuckles on said:

    If the hat fits, wear it, Sands. But if you’re going to make accusations of holocaust denial, I suggest you learn how to read a text properly.

  99. goodwin sands on said:

    knuckles: “I didn’t actually “call” you jewish, which you seem to regard it as some sort of insult.”

    Don’t play stupid, knuckles. You said I, JSF, and SU have “sensitive Jewish ears.” You’re not going to try to claim that you actually meant I keep a spare pair of them in my pocket, are you? That kind of mendacious equivocation is popular among Atzmon’s followers — after all, who would support him otherwise? — but I don’t think it’s going to fly here.

    knuckles: “You are however a regular of JSF, which is very, VERY jewish, very TYPICAL, and very insular.”

    So insular, in fact, that I’ve never posted there.

    But I’m interested. Tell us what you think is “TYPICALLY” Jewish about JSF.

    knuckles: “Now come up with the written EVIDENCE of holocaust denial you claim is part of that text.”

    It’s all over the text, as I believe most readers of this site who take the time to look at it would agree. But it’s not my purpose here to prove what most of us already know, that Paul Eisen is a Holocaust denier. I just wanted to get you on record as demonstrating that you can’t see it, because of what that tells us about what it takes for someone to support Atzmon.

  100. knuckles on said:

    Paul Eisen is not a Holocaust denier, and it’s obvious that you cannot find anything he has written which proves him one. Tut tut, such a lot of hot air, Sands.

    However, genocides of 60 years ago are less relevant than CURRENT genocides, and neither Paul or Gilad is in denial of the recent past & current grotesque genocide of the people of Iraq, Afghanistan, and Palestine. Or of the moves being made to exterminate the people of Iran.

    Denial of mass murder taking place RIGHT NOW is quite a bit more concerning to some of us than what the history books say happened 60 yrs ago.

    Unless of course you happen to be typically………….. 🙂

  101. goodwin sands on said:

    knuckles: “Paul Eisen is not a Holocaust denier, and it’s obvious that you cannot find anything he has written which proves him one. Tut tut, such a lot of hot air, Sands.”

    Wonderful! Keep digging. You’re doing marvelously. But don’t stop. There may still be a reader or two left who doubts your appalling blindness.

    Meanwhile, please explain how this lie-filled paragraph from Eisen is not clearly intended to argue against the existence of homicidal gas chambers: “Nothing seems to fit about the gassing story. The numbers of victims crammed into the space (*), the design and construction of the gassing facilities (*), the lack of protection for the attendants (*), the implausibility surrounding the rate of cremation (*), the huge errors, omissions and disparities in eye-witness accounts (*) — all these and more, when added to the near total absence of hard affirmative evidence, makes one wonder why anyone believed such a story in the first place. No-one has yet been able to explain how a gas chamber worked (*). No-one has been able to explain how pellets of Zyklon B were poured into holes (*) that do not and never have existed (*). No-one has been able to explain how the Sonderkommando (special detachment) of Jewish prisoner/attendants was able to enter a gas chamber immediately (*), (even wearing gas masks which do not offer anything like proper protection, especially when the wearer is active), after a mass gassing to remove the bodies, even though such an environment would have been an ocean of hydrogen cyanide (*). The deadly gas would have still been everywhere and particularly in the soft tissue of the corpses (*).”

    Each asterisk is a lie that was debunked in the David Irving trial. Each lie is also standard issue for Holocaust deniers. Yet this is the anti-semitic garbage the anti-semite Atzmon had only “slight differences” with.

  102. knuckles on said:

    Sands – But it’s not my purpose here to prove what most of us already know, that Paul Eisen is a Holocaust denier.

    knuckles – in fact it would seem that part of your purpose is to deny that the Butcher Rabbi Metzger is a PROMOTER of another Holocaust. He gave a special thank you to Bush for exterminating more than a million goyim, did he not? If anything the Rabbi killed by proxy, just like Abrahams and his dirty money which funded Blair’s genocide for the past 4 years!

    Yet you take pains to claim that Butcher Metzger is “wrong”, ut not genocidal!!! hahahah Why do you find it so hard to believe that jews can be genocidal, Sands? Did you forget about the bolsheviks who wiped out millions and millions and MILLIONS of people?

    Sands – And you really don’t think there’s the slightest ethical problem when Gilad Atzmon says that we may as well consider “Protocols of the Elders of Zion” true because it accurately describes American Jewry?

    knuckles – I have a problem when you blatantly LIE, sandman, Gilad has never said the protocols are TRUE, he said they were IRRELEVANT.

  103. goodwin sands on said:

    Sorry, knuckles, I’ve just laid out in detail a paragraph of standard, straight-from-the-playbook Holocaust denial from Paul Eisen, lie after lie after lie of it, the essay you said you could not find any Holocaust denial in, and your response is to wordlessly change the subject.

    Unless and until you get back to addressing Eisen’s lies about the Holocaust directly, I’m through here.

  104. knuckles on said:

    There’s no need to keep apologising all the time, sandman, you’re through here and everywhere else. And no, you haven’t proved Paul is a holocaust denier with that paragraph. Tough, keep trying though, as that is your major convern – while Nablus and Gaza burn and the chief rabbi sharpens his blades for the next slaughter session.

  105. knuckles on said:

    There’s no need to keep apologising all the time, sandman, you’re through here and everywhere else. And no, you haven’t proved Paul is a holocaust denier with that paragraph. Tough, keep trying though, as that is your chief concern – while Nablus and Gaza burn and the butcher rabbi sharpens his blades for the next slaughter session.

  106. Stephen Marks on said:

    Those of us familiar with the sort of shit that floats on the surface of Knuckles/Atzmon’s sewer-like thought processes will recognise the basis of his pretence that Eisen is not a holocaust denier. It rests on the claim that when Eisen states, in the article referred to, that “Regarding gas, again I am not sure but the evidence for the use of homicidal gas-chambers is not good at all. The evidence against it is much, much stronger”, this does not amount to holocaust denial.

    So therefore the statement; “Regarding ethnic cleansing in 1948, again I am not sure but the evidence for the deliberate explusion of the Palestinians is not good at all. The evidence against it is much, much stronger” would not amount to Naqba denial.

    The statement; “Regarding human rights abuses by the IDF in the West Bank and Gaza, again I am not sure but the evidence for breaches of the Geneva Convention is not good at all. The evidence against it is much, much stronger” would also not amount to apologetics for the occupation.

    The statement; ‘Regarding institutional racism against Palestinian citizens of Israel, again I am not sure but the evidence for racism in access to state land, in the allocation of government funding and in public employment is not good at all. The evidence against it is much, much stronger” would not amount to denial of racist treatment of Arabs in Israel.

    The statement ‘Regarding those who claim the world is round, again I am not sure but the evidence that it is globe-shaped is not good at all. The evidence against is much, much stronger’ would not qualify you for membership of the Flat Earth Society.

    And of course the statement; “Regarding Atzmon’s intellectual coherence and grasp of the elementary rules of logic, again I am not sure but the evidence for his sanity and rationality is not good at all. The evidence against it is much, much stronger.” would not amount to concluding that he is a deranged and intellectually dishonest provcateur’.

    Apart from which, readers of this site will learn all they need to know about Knuckles/Atzmon’s real politics from his throwaway observation; ‘Why do you find it so hard to believe that jews can be genocidal, Sands? Did you forget about the bolsheviks who wiped out millions and millions and MILLIONS of people?’

  107. knuckles on said:

    yawn…. knuckles is not atzman and atzman is not knuckles.

    Got that, Marks, assuming it’s your real name?

    And when I see your thought process splayed open as above, all I can do is reach for the barf bag. Close your legs, girl!

  108. knuckles on said:

    Sands: Each asterisk is a lie that was debunked in the David Irving trial.

    Not one single thing was ‘de-bunked’, sands. Now YOU explain to all of us just how they managed to do it. Answer the questions Eisen is asking!

  109. goodwin sands on said:

    Incidentally, knuckles, you’ll find some of the answers you’re looking for here: http://www.hdot.org/learning/myth-fact

    That’s the site of the woman who stood up to David Irving’s bullying and refused to be silenced. You’ll find the rest of your questions answered as part of the expert testimony in the trial, in particular here: http://www.hdot.org/trial/defense/van/

    Turns out Eisen is peddling exactly the same lies David Irving did. Funny how that works, isn’t it.

    You now no longer have the excuse of ignorance.

  110. goodwin sands on said:

    By the way:

    knuckles: “Not one single thing was ‘de-bunked’ [in the Irving trial], sands.”

    You really are quite an ignoramus, aren’t you. Well, I’ve given you an excellent place to start learning about the Holocaust denial movement and why Eisen is unquestionably part of it. Have at it.

  111. knuckles on said:

    You are obsessed with the Holocaust, not me, Sands. I couldn’t give two shits about it. Whether 6 million were gassed or 1 million died of cholera or typhoid,it’s all the same to me. The people are already dead, 60 years back. They aren’t suffering any more. The ones I care about are suffering NOW, and will still be suffering in the future. Got it?

    Having said that, Eisen asks some very pertinent questions about the so-called Holocaust, particularly the official Zionist narrative, which is full of holes. As this is a subject YOU brought up (so very TYPICAL), and since your are such an expert on the minutae of how the nazis managed to pull off the greatest disappearing trick in history, please ANSWER Paul Eisen instead of panicking and refering us to other texts. ….

    Nothing seems to fit about the gassing story. The numbers of victims crammed into the space (*)
    Please explain..

    , the design and construction of the gassing facilities (*),
    Please explain…

    the lack of protection for the attendants (*),
    please explain

    These are all very legitimate questions which you are not able to answer. You believe people who ask them should be locked up for life or better still crucified, right? hahahaha….. Referring me to some trial notes won’t do, little one.

    The implausibility surrounding the rate of cremation (*), the huge errors, omissions and disparities in eye-witness accounts (*) — all these and more, when added to the near total absence of hard affirmative evidence, makes one wonder why anyone believed such a story in the first place. No-one has yet been able to explain how a gas chamber worked (*). No-one has been able to explain how pellets of Zyklon B were poured into holes (*) that do not and never have existed (*). No-one has been able to explain how the Sonderkommando (special detachment) of Jewish prisoner/attendants was able to enter a gas chamber immediately (*), (even wearing gas masks which do not offer anything like proper protection, especially when the wearer is active), after a mass gassing to remove the bodies, even though such an environment would have been an ocean of hydrogen cyanide (*). The deadly gas would have still been everywhere and particularly in the soft tissue of the corpses (*).”

  112. knuckles on said:

    The propoganda around the holocaust narrative reminds me of something about that famous posed shot of the first astronauts on the moon, with the stinking US flag fluttering in the WIND in the background. heh heh. I suppose you’d swear on your auntie Rachel’s life that that was also authentic, huh, Sands? Like the South Easter is blowing up there on the moon! Don’t be such a SUCKER. Now tell us how they got rid of 6 million bodies, was it all made into soap and lampshades, dear boy? ahahahahahah

  113. goodwin sands on said:

    Wow. I couldn’t have asked for you to self-destruct even a bit more completely than you have, knuckles. Are there any other facets of Holocaust denial you’d like to embrace while you’re at it?

    Thanks for showing so plainly what an Atzmon supporter is like once you get behind the “anti-Zionism.”

  114. knuckles on said:

    You just can’t answer Eisen’s questions, can you Sands? So far nobody has been able to.

    But maybe you can tell us why it is SO important for you to show that the nazis were WORSE than Bush, Blair, et al, and the genocides these sociopaths have carried out for ISRAEL???
    Worse even that the Zionist terrorists who massacred entire Palestinian villages to create their hell of a state? You have a deep need to show that the nazis were somehow worse than the people who have been collectively punishing an entire people for the last 60 years, preventing seriously ill people from getting medical assistance, shooting children in their classrooms now, torturing prisoners, using illegal chemical weapons against civilian populations, and the list goes on endlessly.

    The truth is that the nazis were NOT worse, sands. You know that. There simply IS no precendent for the sick Israeli state, built on the blood and bones and tears of the Palestinians.

  115. knuckles on said:

    hey, Sands and Marks, any idea what the magic number might be that the Butcher Rabbi Metzger whispered in Bush’s ear to target for genocide in Iran?

  116. knuckles on said:

    Wakey wakey Sands, time to rise and shine 🙂
    Tell me, do you think the Israelis are planning, as a final solution-type thing, to GAS the Palestinians in Gaza? Would it surprise you at all?
    And what’s your opinion of the x-ray and radiation experiements the Zios carried out on thousands of their very own jewish subjects, the DARKER Jews, around the same time or just after some leading Nazis were being shipped in from Europe to South America and…. er…. Israel???
    And what’s your opinion about the difference between mass murderes Golda Meir and Hitler? They both had moustaches, they both were mass murderers, and both thought they were leading some sort of Chosen or superior Race, not so? The only difference I can spot is that Hitler acknowledged the existence of the undermenschen, whereas Frau Meir pretended they didn’t even EXIST. That’s even worse. We can rather talk about begin and Sharon if you prefer, some nice commonalities there with the nazis too.

  117. goodwin sands on said:

    You’re doing just splendidly, knuckles. Flawless. Keep up the good work.

    Any pro-Atzmoneans want to step up and defend what knuckles is saying about the Holocaust?

    How ’bout it, Mary Rizzo? How ’bout it, Gilad “Here’s some Holocaust denial material from Paul Eisen to read” Atzmon? Is your boy knuckles onto something when he quotes Eisen quoting Fred Leuchter?

  118. Goodwain Sands has a good point here.

    All those who earlier were saying that Gilad Atmon is not an anti-Semite have gone completelly quiet when exposed to the skull behind the mask.

    Whoever Knuckles is, this is the true logic of Atzmon’s supporters, undisguised anti-Semitism.

    in am closing this thread now becasue I have had enough shit, and thank you to Goodwin Sands for combatting the filth.