Rollcall time

November 12, 2007 at 9:09 pm Leave a comment

Tony replies – and just look at the CC list -its like a rollcall from The Protocols of the elders of London – ftp

[Imc-uk-features] Re a letter allegedly sent to me which was posted instead to Rizzo’s anti-Semitic PEPA site

Date: Fri, 9 Nov 2007 06:44:41 -0800 (PST)
From: tony greenstein
Cc: Roland Rance , Moshe Machover , deborah maccoby , charlie pottins , Diana Neslen , David Rosenberg , MARK ELF , Michael Karlmanovitch , sofia mcleoad

Dear FTP,

Thank you for this, which is the first real response after 2 or more weeks after having submitted my original complaint. Unfortunately it is not clear where posts that complain about an article go, nor did or even do I understand where such posts go and where the threads can be found or indeed how one posts a reply to such a thread. So maybe I can make a few comments on this:

1. I can assure you that I have received nothing in my inbox. The first time I knew there was such a letter was went onto Mary Rizzo’s pepa. So if you sent it I didn’t receive it, I can assure you.
Well, it was sent to you as a cc – I’ve checked my sent email, and the email
that I received from the list, and you are definitely cc’d on both.

2. Given the nature of the complaint, the least that could have been done is that my response, which was hidden could have been placed up alongside the article complained about rather than relegated. The effect is a political choice that an anti-Semitic article stays up in public view and the criticism of it is hidden from most readers of IndyMedia.

3. I am absolutely certain of the fact that the article is anti-Semitic. So are most people in e.g. Jews Against Zionism, people like Moshe Machover, a retired anti-Zionist Israeli academic in this country from Matzpen, the first such organisation in Israel. It is not simply what is written in the article which I’ve highlighted (it is a long article, much of it unremarkable and indeed unoriginal either) but the cumulative weight of what Atzmon has written, of which this is an example e.g. the essay ‘On Anti-Semitism’ his use of the term Elder to describe his anti-Zionist Jewish critics (and the fact that his first ever criticism of us was in an article entitled the The Protocols of the London Elders of Zionism). Or maybe his statement in the ‘Dialectic of Negation’ (all on his site) which states that maybe the reason for the lack of success of Palestine solidarity groups is the presence of Jews in their ranks or his statement in his ‘Esther to Aipac’ article that
 those who believe there was a holocaust ‘dare’ not challenge holocaust revisionists (deniers).

4. You don’t understand the practice on the Guardian’s CIF. I would have preferred not to link to Eisen’s piece. That is taken as read. However the editors insist that if you refer to something then you have to provide a link so others can see what it is you are criticising. But until this all happened I was under the impression that IndyMedia was different. I have put stuff up about the Police attack on the Lebanon 2 years ago, including a secret tape recording of the Brighton Police Commander Kevin Moore justifying to me that response, including the allegation that we were, yes ‘anti-Semitic’. It was incidentally people like me, i.e. Jewish anti-Zionists who were most vociferous in forcing the police to back off. Which is a particular reason why, if we allow people like Atzmon, to then pollute the discourse with anti-Semitic remarks, then it hands a free gift to the police or people like Richard Littlejohn etc. who are eager to portray support for the Palestinians as anti-Semitic.

The Guardian/Indie etc. are liberal papers of the ruling class in this country. One expects them to have a different attittude to printing stuff from the far-right. Something like Indymedia I would have expected to take a position not that far removed from the old anti-fascist position of ‘No Platform’ for overt racists and fascists.

5. I have no doubt, based on previous antics of Atzmon, including the nature of the allegations made and use of language that ‘knuckles’ is Atzmon. I am no expert in IP numbers etc. but I do know that it is possible to disguise them. I say that having received an abusive set of e-mails re an assault case I’m involved with the Police from staff in EDO who have faked IP addresses. I suspect Atzmon has simply written the pieces and if, as he says, there is a S American IP address, he has had it remailed by a member of Eisen’s DYR.

6. Well you say that ‘There is a discussion going on, that has caused quite a major upset in the collective. That is not ‘giving up’, is it?’ No I agree. But I would also have hoped that whilst that discussion was going up, where there is a prima facie case that something is racist, (it is a legal term for where there is a case even though it has not yet been proved) that the article is taken down or hidden. It’s similar to when BSE was about. Should precautions have been taken as soon as the danger was there or not until it was proven scientifically, by which time many others have been infected. I see Atzmon’s writings as a political form of BSE.

7. You quote Rabbi Dr. Yitzchak Greenberg. No I haven’t heard of him, but looking at the article I note it comes from that bastion of tolerance viz. the University of Bar Ilan in Tel Aviv. Perhaps you are not aware of Bar Ilan? It is a religious university, which has validated the College of Judea & Samaria on the West Bank. It is a university which refuses to allow Arabs to live on campus. In any case what Greenberg was arguing for was in the context of a religious world view. Atzmon’s argument was entirely different and uses this religious metaphor in order to draw current political conclusions, hence his use of the term Israelite, as if Jews today are the offspring of the ancient 12 tribes. Note ‘the similarities to the Israelite of our time are rather concerning.’

This is not dissimilar to the use by the Nazis of medieval beliefs about Jews, including their role in trade, in order to paint the assimilated Jews of Germany as the equivalent of money lenders etc. But yes, I think Greenberg’s essay was equally reactionary. He writes from a Zionist viewpoint, regretting the fact that Jews are becoming integrated into modern society and looking back to the days when anti-Semitism kept them apart. Zionism and anti-Semitism are 2 sides of the same coin. Both deny that Jews have any valid place in the diaspora and I could quote you far worse things than Greenberg that Zionists use to describe Jews who live outside Palestine/Israel. It is a fact that anti-Semites used to regularly quote Zionists philosophers such as Jacob Klatzkin to ‘prove’ that Jews were strangers and outsiders. E.g.:
  ‘Instead of establishing societies for defence against the anti-Semites who want to reduce our rights, we should establish societies for defence against our friends who desire to defend our rights. J Klatzkin in B Matovu ‘The Zionist Wish and the Nazi Deed’, Issue Winter 1966-7, cited in Uri Davies, Utopia Incorporated, p.17.
  or from the same writer:
  ‘Galut can only drag out the disgrace of our people and sustain the existence of a people disfigured in both body and soul – in a word, of a horror. At the very worst it can maintain us in a state of national impurity and breed some sort of outlandish creature in an environment of disintegration of cultures and of darkening spiritual horizons. The result will be something neither Jewish nor Gentile – in any case, not a pure national type…. some sort of oddity among the peoples going by the name of Jew. The Zionist Idea, Arthur Hertzberg p. 322/323.’ Klatzkin was one of the foremost Zionist theoreticians of his day, a founder of the Encyclopaedia Judaica and an editor of the Zionist official weekly Die Welt.

Incidentally if you were to read similar articles by people like Moses Hess in the book The Zionist Idea, by a liberal Zionist Arthur Herzberg, you would come across stuff which, if you didn’t know, you would think was written by anti-Semites. That was why the founder of Zionism, Theodore Herzl could say of them that ‘the anti-Semitic countries will be our friends and allies.’ (Diaries pp.83/4).

What can I say other than I would be opposed equally to the nonsense above being posted uncritically as an article on Indymedia? There is reams of this stuff from Zionists. The irony is that in his attacks on Jews in the diaspora, Atzmon is merely repeating much of this nonsense, which is why I and others consider that he is not only anti-Semitic but is also someone who shares the Zionist view of diaspora Jews.

You ask ‘Erm, did I say you personally abused him? No! And you’re surely not now going to
deny that you have a beef against the man, nor that you have tried to get him banned from other groups on other occasions, are you?’ The implication in all the posts I’ve read on this dispute, and it is implied in your own, is that my altercation with Atzmon is personal. You yourself say I have ‘a beef against the man’. I’ve never spoken to him and I’ve refused to meet him. On a personal level he may be sweetness and light. Actually many Nazis were highly cultured and disapproved of the gutter anti-Semitism of their more uncouth colleagues. But the suggestion that this is a personal matter is unsustainable. Not only me, but people like Mike Rosen, David Rosenberg, Moshe Machover, Roland Rance and Debbie Maccoby have also sustained considerable personal abuse from Atzmon because of our political criticisms of what Atzmon says.

8. You say that you do not ‘fully understand what Atzmon means by the “real meaning of
their Holocaust” – perhaps he will contribute to the discussion and explain it.’

I suspect Atzmon doesn’t either. However from reading what he does say it would appear that the ‘real meaning’ is derived from his previous assertion that the Holocaust was a result of their unpopularity, i.e. the Jews. Not only is this factually untrue, anti-Semitism was not popular in Germany and there was mass revulsion at the SA pogrom on Krystalnacht, but it would be a tautological irrelevancy. Let me explain. No one doubts that homosexuals were unpopular in 1930’s Germany and most other countries in the West. Were they murdered because of that unpopularity? I would suggest that the unpopularity was a manifestation of the fact that sexual relations were seen as being an integral part of reproducing the labour force, procreation and in that sense ‘unnatural’. It was because homosexuality was seen as running counter to the family morality of capitalism that gays were persecuted and murdered. So was it their ‘unpopularity’ that was to blame? No the latter was a
 product of the political and social factors that led to it. Otherwise it becomes a tautology.

Likewise even if Jews were unpopular, and it could be argued that in White Russia that was true, it wasn’t that that led to their extermination, but factors such as the emergence of those economies from feudalism and the use that was made of a visible minority by the regimes and movements in power.

9. You ask what I meant when I quoted Boaz Evron, a noted Israeli journalist, that ‘Zionist propagandists and fundraisers use the holocaust is best described by Israeli writer Boaz Evron: holocaust awareness is “an official, propagandistic indoctrination, a churning out of slogans and a false view of the world, the real aim of which is not at all an understanding of the past, but a manipulation of the present”. I am making much the same point that e.g. Norman Finkelstein does in The Holocaust Industry. Instead of the holocaust being used to draw anti-racist and anti-imperialist lessons, that racism is wrong whoever it is directed against, Zionism uses it in order to justify barbarities such as the present day siege of Gaza. I didn’t quote this article in my reply to you, but you clearly found it on the web. My latest article in Weekly Worker (of which I’m not a member!) compares this hunger siege to the statements by those like Hans Frank, Nazi Governor general of
 Poland’s Generalgovernment that they would implement a policy of ‘death by hunger’ and indeed some 50,000 of Warsaw’s Jews did die from starvation.

I detest the way Zionists use the calamity of the holocaust to justify their present policies but unfortunately people like Atzmon are playing right into their hands when they themselves use anti-Semitic imagery in ‘support’ of the Palestinians. It is utterly counterproductive and that is why I am asking Indymedia, of all groups, to take his stuff down. I don’t care if he abuses me in the postings I’ve googled on Indymedia, that is of no account, though I’m not sure why they are there anyway. His ‘supportive’ articles, are damaging to any notion of Palestine solidarity.

I don’t know your name, since I assume ftp refers to the collective, but I have tried to respond in a measured way since I want to take at face value your statements that you are in the process of discussion. That is fine, there should be discussion and I would freely accept I may have been intemperate. But I would also ask that rather than keep Atzmon’s stuff up, and I would suggest all his contributions on these lines (I was not aware he’d posted so much before) that they are taken down pending a decision one way or another because Indymedia, which is a valuable resource, should not sully its own reputation with this stuff.


Tony Greenstein


Entry filed under: freethepeeps, Indymedia, Jews Against Zionism, Mark Elf, Moshe Machover, Roland Rance, Tony Greenstein.

Talking to a brick wall? So, chill

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