Greenstein back on list

November 14, 2007 at 3:57 pm Leave a comment

I stopped replying to Greenstein on list after my letter. I don’t agree with most of what he writes, and I will post my comments on his emails under the actual emails.

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

tony greenstein tonygreenstein at yahoo.com
Fri Nov 9 19:00:35 PST 2007

I’m not sure where this debate is going since ftp says, and I assume that it is true, that he can ‘block’ any proposal to remove Atzmon’s article anyway. This is no different from the tradition at London gentleman’s clubs of ‘blackballing’ someone, whereby one veto was enough to prevent someone becoming a member.

Atzmon states that he has ‘no problem whatsoever with a Marxist who happens to be a Jew’. Strange because that is exactly how I would describe myself, as would others that he addressed the ‘protocols of the learned elder of london to’. But since he can’t decide whether the Protocols, the most infamous anti-Semitic document, a product of the Czarist secret police are or are not genuine, it’s not surprising that he gets so confused.
  Atzmon’s categories are arbitrary and absurd. He has no problem with Judaism, yet many of the most virulently racist settlers are racist, in the name of the bible. That was what Rabbi Meir Kahane espoused and it was what the late Prof. Israel Shahak, a childhood survivor of Belsen and the Warsaw Ghetto exposed in painstaking detail in ‘Jewish History, Jewish Religion’ and ‘Jewish Fundamentalism in Israel’.

The other category, Jewish people, is equally problematic because the fundamental difference between Zionism and the rest was precisely that Jews were members of all peoples and nations – British Jews, French Jews, etc. Those who argued there were one people were arguing that there was a Jewish race. That was why anti-Semites fell over themselves to express their admiration for the Zionists and that is why, despite his absurd pretensions to the contrary, Race runs like a thread throughout all Atzmon’s writings. Likewise there is no one Jewish ideology or politics and the suggestion that there is is another facet of Jewish conspiracies. Why should one talk of Jewishness any more than Catholicness or Protestantness or Muslimness etc?

Far from examining Jewish identity, indeed a fertile area for discussion, Atzmon essentialises it and reifies it. There is one Jewish identity, it is conspiratorial, synonymous with Zionism etc.

Ftp’s description of Atzmon’s second ‘category’ of Jews, viz. ‘those who regard themselves as human beings that happen to be of Jewish origin.’ is a good example of the core of this racist nonsense. Actually all Jews regard themselves as human beings. So do all other people, Jewish or others. Talk of people not being human is the core of racist beliefs. Africans in the slave trade were not human, that was how this evil trade was justified. Likewise the butchery of the Armenians, the Mountain Turks (Kurds) and many other groups, Jews included. And then no doubt Atzmon, who has used exactly this expression, will proclaim that he abhors racism!

ftp also seems to believe that ‘(Jeff) Blankfort is an anti-zionist who argues that the left’s tendency to ignore the power of the Israel lobby, is one of the reasons for the failure of the anti-war movement’ and that he ‘specifically rebuts Chomsky’s line on the lobby. Perhaps it is doe to the awful gatekeeping around this issue, that the views of progressives such as Blankfort are not more widely known.’

I’m sorry that ftp has now bought even into the language of these people. Gatekeeping was a term in Atzmon’s ‘Palestinian Solidarity Discourse and Zionist Hegemony. It compared Jews in the Palestine solidarity movement to German fifth columnists during the war. In other words they are outsiders, strangers. It’s difficult to know whether there could be a better example of anti-Semitism.

Blankfort is not quite the left-winger that ftp believes. He has sent me a no. of e-mails stating that there was no deliberate intent of the Nazis to murder or exterminate their victims. He has long since bought into a wide range of conspiracy theories and that is why Noam Chomsky, who is not an anti-Zionist, refuses to touch him with a bargepole.

ftp cites Atzmon’s The 3rd Category and the Palestinian Solidarity Movement as somehow representing Jewishness. This is another example of racial politics. Weizmann was describing why Jews were not part of the nations they lived in but a separate nation/race. He was articulating a key concept of Zionism, yet Atzmon chooses to call it ‘Jewishness’ as if it was an eternal and hereditary characteristic, which he backs up with later quotations from Shylock. But Zionism was a political manifestation of the late 19th century. Atzmon rejects this and suggests that ‘Jewishness’ is something innate and what is involved is not a question of politics. That is why, for all his obscurantism and self-aggrandisement, Atzmon falls back on the Zionist definition of what it is to be Jewish, ignoring groups like the Bund or Jewish participation in revolutionary movements. He is an anti-Marxist and it is a sad commentary on the SWP that they seek to defend him.

As to the article in question ‘Goliath etc.’ It is entirely Indymedia’s decision whether or not to keep it up. As Atzmon says, there are plenty of sites displaying it (though I doubt that too many are left-wing or socialist). But there should be no doubt as to the fact that it justifies the holocaust.

It argues that ‘the Jewish state and the sons of Israel are at least as unpopular in the Middle East as their grandparents were in Europe just six decades ago. Seemingly, it is the personification of WW2 and the Holocaust that blinded the Israelis and their supporters from internalising the real meaning of the conditions and the events that led towards their destruction in the first place. Would the Zionists understand the real meaning of their Holocaust, the contemporary Israelite may be able to prevent the destruction that may be awaiting them in the future.’

Leave aside the curious reference to Israelites, as if this is some ancient tribal custom, rather than Israelis. The ‘real meaning’ of the Nazi holocaust is the unpopularity of the grandfathers of the Jewish state. Apart from the historical illiteracy (those murdered were not the grandfathers of the Jewish state) and ignorance (the Nazis had to try and work very hard to make Jews unpoplar and never succeeded – try reading Ian kershaw’s The Hitler Myth) what it is saying is that racism and genocide can be explained by the characteristics (unpopularity) of the victim. Maybe the same is true of the gypsies and gays? And Poles? And slavs if Nazi Germany had not been defeated? This is facile. If e.g. gays were unpopular that was the result of other factors which led to murder, not the cause. Likewise with Jews, Poles etc. Racism is not caused by ‘unpopularity’ but by material and social factors. That is why this essay is an apology for racism and it is entirely to Indymedia’s
 discredit if it stays up.

The most absurd argument for keeping a racist and anti-Semitic article posted is that Atzmon’s ‘ultimate concern is one of justice for the Palestinians.’ I doubt it because leaping to the defence of holocaust deniers in Deir yassin Remembered, which is what the PSC debate earlier this year was about, doesn’t seem to have a great deal to do with justice for the Palestinians. But even were it true and Atzmons’ main concern was for justice for the Palestines, does that mean that any racist nonsense should therefore be allowed? The idea that you support justice for the Palestinians by becoming a racist or supporting racism is a strange logic. I’m surprised that Chris buys into this nonsense.

Tony Greenstein

_______________________________________________________

My response:

I’m not sure where this debate is going since ftp says, and I assume that it is true, that he can ‘block’ any proposal to remove Atzmon’s article anyway. This is no different from the tradition at London gentleman’s clubs of ‘blackballing’ someone, whereby one veto was enough to prevent someone becoming a member. 

The fact that Greenstein doesn’t understand the process of consensus decision making hardly comes as a surprise. His politics are not my politics. With my block I included an explanation of what a block is from wikipedia. It is not something that should be used widely or often, and it was his assault on our decision making process that led me to use it.

Atzmon states that he has ‘no problem whatsoever with a Marxist who happens to be a Jew’. Strange because that is exactly how I would describe myself, as would others that he addressed the ‘protocols of the learned elder of london to’.

So why does he preface anti zionist with Jewish, including on the list where he states: “Moshe is an absolutely solid Israeli Jewish anti-Zionist” – that is different to stating that “Moshe is an absolutely solid anti-zionist who happens to be Jewish and Israeli”. In the Guardian he writes “The UJS is an organisation whose primary purpose is defence of Israel, right or wrong. It has consistently sought to portray opponents, especially Jewish anti-Zionists, as anti-semites.” Why does the UJS single out ‘Jewish anti-zionists’? In that article he writes:”The inquiry report took the allegations of the UJS that anti-Zionism is a form of anti-semitism at face value, without seeking the opinion even of its Jewish critics, with the sole exception of Brian Klug” – the highlighted bit implies that Jewish critics are a seperate category who should be consulted independently because they are Jews” . In a letter to Counterpunch, co-authored with Rance, they write: “The rest of the attack on Moshé Machover, someone who is rightly respected by both Palestinians and Jewish anti-Zionists, is just an absurd caricature. We do not know of any single Jewish anti-Zionist, certainly not Moshé, who has attacked Palestinians because they are not interested in fighting anti-Semitism.” Not just anti-zionists – but “Palestinians and Jewish anti-zionists”. He chooses to operate under a banner called ‘Jews against Zionism‘. This a small and exclusive club, not a mass movement open to all anti-zionists. What would I have to do to become a “Jew against Zionism”?

Atzmon’s categories are arbitrary and absurd. He has no problem with Judaism, yet many of the most virulently racist settlers are racist, in the name of the bible.

Surely Greenie knows that Atzmon has addressed this point? After all, its an article Greenie often quotes:

So, is there a Jewish Conspiracy to run the world?

Not really. First it must be clear that 1st and 2nd category Jews have nothing to do with all the above. For 1st category Jews, being Jewish means practicing Judaism. To follow a spiritual call and to obey God’s law. As we know, Zionism is still far from being popular amongst ultra orthodox Rabbis. However, I must admit that some would rightly argue that following the teaching of the Talmudic law many religious Jews do regard themselves as a chosen category. For me, this simply means that they fall into the 3rd category rather than the 1st one. This probably applies to the orthodox sects that allied with Zionism throughout the course of time.

Ftp’s description of Atzmon’s second ‘category’ of Jews, viz. ‘those who regard themselves as human beings that happen to be of Jewish origin.’ is a good example of the core of this racist nonsense. Actually all Jews regard themselves as human beings. So do all other people, Jewish or others. Talk of people not being human is the core of racist beliefs. Africans in the slave trade were not human, that was how this evil trade was justified. Likewise the butchery of the Armenians, the Mountain Turks (Kurds) and many other groups, Jews included. And then no doubt Atzmon, who has used exactly this expression, will proclaim that he abhors racism!

Hmm, I can’t imagine how many twists of logic Greenstein had to perform in order to think that I was implying some humans are not human. BTW Greenie, well done for forgetting to mention the dehumanisation of the Palestinians – an astounding missed opportunity for an anti-zionist! I regard myself as a human who happens to be me – this doesn’t prevent me from joining most groups that are operating from a ‘left’ position – however it does seem to prevent me from joining his group. Can he see why I can’t imagine being a ‘non-Jew against Zionism’, however open membership of that group might be?

I’m sorry that ftp has now bought even into the language of these people. Gatekeeping was a term in Atzmon’s ‘Palestinian Solidarity Discourse and Zionist Hegemony. It compared Jews in the Palestine solidarity movement to German fifth columnists during the war. In other words they are outsiders, strangers. It’s difficult to know whether there could be a better example of anti-Semitism.

I don’t read that article in quite the same way that Greenie does, and anyway, gatekeeping is a term that I use to describe “the process through which ideas and information are filtered for publication*“, and particularly the campaigns and demands of Greenie and his group. I have also used it to descibe the process whereby some people have tried to get discussion of 9/11 banned from the newswire.

Blankfort is not quite the left-winger that ftp believes. He has sent me a no. of e-mails stating that there was no deliberate intent of the Nazis to murder or exterminate their victims.

Can I just make it clear that I have never seen Greenies inbox! Nor had any emails from Blankfort.

As to the article in question ‘Goliath etc.’ It is entirely Indymedia’s decision whether or not to keep it up. As Atzmon says, there are plenty of sites displaying it (though I doubt that too many are left-wing or socialist). But there should be no doubt as to the fact that it justifies the holocaust.

But actually there is real doubt that it justifies the holocaust. I would hate to live in a world where eveyone saw everything in exactly the same way as Greenstiens ideological mindset makes him see them.

Some of the reposts:

http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article18178.htm
http://www.mathaba.net/0_index.shtml?x=560763
http://www.dissidentvoice.org/2007/08/saying-no-to-the-hunters-of-goliath/
http://www.thepeoplesvoice.org/cgi-bin/blogs/voices.php/2007/08/14/saying_no_to_the_hunters_of_goliath
http://www.palestinechronicle.com/story-08140764801.htm
http://www.uruknet.de/?p=35317

The most absurd argument for keeping a racist and anti-Semitic article posted is that Atzmon’s ‘ultimate concern is one of justice for the Palestinians.’ I doubt it because leaping to the defence of holocaust deniers in Deir yassin Remembered, which is what the PSC debate earlier this year was about, doesn’t seem to have a great deal to do with justice for the Palestinians. But even were it true and Atzmons’ main concern was for justice for the Palestines, does that mean that any racist nonsense should therefore be allowed? The idea that you support justice for the Palestinians by becoming a racist or supporting racism is a strange logic. I’m surprised that Chris buys into this nonsense.

More twisting – chris’s email notes that he thinks “think some of Atzmon’s views are misgided and sometimes offensive” and he welcomes dicussion. Greenstein doesn’t welcome discussion – he insists that we shut it down. Of course we shouldn’t host genuine racists and fascists – but we should make absolute damn sure that someone is a racist before we allow ourselves to become part of a Greenstein war of attrition.

Advertisements

Entry filed under: freethepeeps, Indymedia, Tony Greenstein.

I stand aside from the decision “you cannot expect us to”

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Trackback this post  |  Subscribe to the comments via RSS Feed


Calendar

November 2007
M T W T F S S
     
 1234
567891011
12131415161718
19202122232425
2627282930  

Most Recent Posts


%d bloggers like this: