[Marxism] The political polarization in the debate around The Passion (continued)

Fred Feldman ffeldman at bellatlantic.net
Fri Feb 27 07:53:27 MST 2004

I haven't seen anything  anti-Semitic in Quarter's statements.  However,
in the name of defending the Palestinians and Iraqis, he has tended to
enter upon a rather broad "anti-Zionist" crusade, including seeing US
foreign policy as substantially representing specific "Zionist" group
interests rather than the interests of US finance capital. Such views
are not only wrong, but are politically vulnerable to rightist appeals
being made in the context of deepening social and political conflicts in
the United States.

Following is a letter that has appeared on various leftist lists,
addressed to "Dear Comrades,"  from someone claiming to represent
something called the "Iraq Resistance Solidarity Network." He strongly
endorses an attached article by a "Pan-Arab leftist."  This "leftist"
insists  that Holocaust denial is central to opposing US occupation of
Iraq and defending the people of Palestine. 

Of course, it is rather hard to see how holocaust denial will strengthen
the antiwar movement here  or the pro-Palestinian groups, so I strongly
suspect that this is not the distributor's or the author's real or
primary motivation. 

I suspect, though I certainly do not know, that someone or some group
involved in distributing this is fronting for anti-Semitic or fascist
organizations that are attempting to reach out to the left. But it is
also possible that  they are simply former leftists who are being  in
the process of being won to the perspectives of anti-Semites and

Increasingly, such groups do issue anti-Semitic propaganda  that claims
to defend the Palestinians and Iraq.  A more cautious version of this
comes from "antiwar" ultrarightists like Patrick Buchanan, who direct
their "radical" appeals more to the political mainstream.

The attempt to make a sharp distinction between Lenin and Trotsky on the
Jewish question is a historical falsification.  Lenin and Trotsky had no
differences on the Jewish question during the fight with the Jewish Bund
-- they were both opposed to a Jewish socialist party in Russia then and
always, and they were both assimilationists in 1903, accepting the views
of internationally recognized Marxist leaders like Kautsky on this

Both came to view the Jewish question as a national question that would
not go away when they came to look at the Russian revolution in the
light of the crisis of world imperialism. 

This was part of a general shift of the revolutionary socialist position
on the  national question led  by Lenin's writings beginning with the
approach of World War I. (Lenin probably changed his view on the Jews as
a national-type question BEFORE Trotsky did.) And Lenin and Trotsky's
positions on Jewish national rights were always intertwined with
irreconcilable opposition to the Zionist movement. 

But that's not the heart of this document.  This attack on Trotsky is
primarily directed at Bronstein the Jew, not Trotsky the "reviser" of

There are two debates taking shape around the movie The Passion.  There
is the movie itself, which I refuse to comment on until I have seen it.
I believe rather strongly in NOT having a list of subject matters and
even attitudes and political opinions that cannot be expressed
artistically.  And I have no confidence in how the liberal mainstream
has presented the film so far, which doesn't prove anything about the
movie one way or the other.  I am also careful frankly  because some of
my favorite writers -- Dostoevsky and Celine for example -- have been
anti-Semites.  So I will have to see for myself before I pass any
judgment on it politically and otherwise. 

But there is also a political polarization in the discussion of the
movie that is undeniable.  Even though individual Jews have helped
Gibson make and promote the movie, he has increasingly come to identify
"the Jews" or (more defensively) the "secular Jews" as the moving force
among his foes.  His father has become more bold in his advocacy of a
variant of  Holocaust denial.

It is a mistake (and one that has the potential to become dangerous, to
imagine that the privileged, better-off, and (at this point in time)
"white" status  of a big majority of Jews in the United States means
there will not be anti-Semitic scapegoating in the United States.  (In
my nationalistic youth, I used to tell friends, "We were voted into the
white race, and we can be voted out."  In my
internationalist-with-a-nationalist-tinge old age, I present the history
differently.)  As a matter of fact, I believe anti-Semitic scapegoating
is picking up slightly today, in a purely propagandistic form, as part
of the polarization spurred by growing economic difficulties and other
problems in the US and abroad. 

I also believe that anti-Semitic appeals ARE being made to sections of
the left, and that some fanatical anti-Semites and even fascist types
are, in a few instances, trying to utilize the wide disgust with the
crimes against  Iraq,  the oppressive role of the settler colonial
Jewish State of Israel, and the role of quite a few individual Jews in
the making of US diplomatic and military policy to further anti-Semitic

The generally prosperous and upper-middle-class or better position in
the United States can facilitate making Jews ideal scapegoats for the
crimes of capitalism.  Thos can be used to give a "class" form to
rightist propagandists who want to direct their appeals to the
discontented rather than to those who are fattening in  the Clinton-Bush
era. Remember the historical role of anti-Semitism as "the socialism of

We are in the very early stages of something, and I am not talking about
a grandiose "new anti-Semitism."  But there isn't going to be serious
social crisis and conflict in this country in our time without the
Jewish question arising in forms that we have become very, very unused
Fred Feldman 

Article on the Importance of Revolutionaries to debunk the Jewish
Holocaust Myth and Reject Lev"Trotsky" Bronstein, Renegade Zionist 

Pathology and Lies are the only intellectual and historic basis for

Dear Comrades, 

The following is from Dr. Ibrahim Alloush, editor of the Free Arab
Voice, and a highly esteemed Pan-Arab Leftist. This is the kind of essay
on the Question of zionism and "jews" which must stubbornly be brought
out in the west, and which defines clear lines of demarcation between
support for the right of the arab nation to self- determination on the
one hand ( as well as an understanding of the global phenomenom of
Zionism) and opertuninism on the other.It also serves to show that
Trotsky was in fact NOT a genuine bolshevik and in fact a ZIONIST. 

Hopefully this serves as a talking point for establishing red lines of
demarcation against US Imperialism and Zionism in our movement. Feedback
would be appreciated. 

John Paul Cupp Web Editor, Iraqi Resistance Solidarity Network 


anti_imperialist_solidarity at yahoo.com 

****************************************************************** On
How to Handle the Hollowcause, Trotsky! 


Dear Listmembers, 

Apologies for the delay in responding as all AN listmembers are
restricted to two messages daily, except in emergencies.. 

So, on the surface of it, it seems like there are two ways of handling
the Hollowcause: 1) to insist that it bears no relevance to the
Arab-Zionist conflict, even if the Zionists use it as an excuse, and 
2) to debunk it as the bunch of myths it is. 

The proponents of the first approach believe that it is smart
politically to admit to the Hollowcause, to avoid antagonizing the
"left" in the west, and to avoid any association with Nazis. 

But what's wrong with this picture is that once you accept the received
version of the Hollowcause, then you would set yourself up for a
comparison that would diminsh your cause so much, your cause would turn
into something similar to calls to 'save the whale' in a Palestinian
refugee camp currently under heavy Zionist bombardment!! 

You will say: but why should there be a comparison to begin with?! 

Because the Hollowcause was INVENTED to be used as a yardstick that
diminshes all else.  That is its raison d'etre.  The Zionists did not go
through the trouble of making up the myths of the Hollowcause so you'd
have the option of saying it is irrelevant to the discussion at hand.
NUCLEAR BOMBS ON THE HEADS OF ARABS AS WELL.  This is not to mention, of
course, justifying Jewish/Zionist power and whole bunch of other fringe

So, I suggest we stop running, cause there is no where to hide.  THE

Just to illuminate my point with an example, allow me to site what Uri
Aveniri said: the Palestinians are the victims of the victims of the
"Holocaust".  They are like the victims of a man who jumped from an
apartment 'on fire' on top of the head of another man.  That is why the
victim of the victim didn't get as much sympathy as he expected to! 

Surely, you will say Uri Aveniri is on Arafat's payroll and so he is not
very credible.  But think about this: even while getting paid, that's
the best Uri could come up with, because he is a Jew living in
Palestine, that is, a Zionist by definition. 

Okay, feel free to ignore my last remark.  Allow me to present a
different example though: the New Historians of "israel". 

These bastards have written wads of paper on Zionist atrocities against
Palestinians in 1948 and beyond.  Being light-headed as many of us are,
we rose to salute New Historians (who are different from Revisionist
Historians by the way who debunk the Hollowcause myths).  But let's take
two of the most well-known "Israeli" New Historians: Benny Morris and
Illan Pappe. 

The first, for all his well-documented writings on Zionist atrocities
against Palestinians in 1948 claimed recently in an interview in Haartz
on January 9th, 2004, that what he wrote about Zionist atrocities does
NOT change the fact that, in his opinion, these atrocities HAD TO HAPPEN
BECAUSE THE ZIONISTS HAD NO OTHER CHOICE, just like the white settlers

Imagine that crap!  I loved it though, because it helps many
Palestinians wake up when they read it. 

Another New Historian, Illan Pappe, however, is much more sinister. He
does not agree necessarily with the open Zionism of Benny Morris (whom
some Palestinians thought he was documenting their suffering for a noble
cause : ) : ) : ) : ) 

But Illan Pappe uses a more roundabout Zionism based on the MYTHS OF THE

For example, read this from an interview he gave on Sept. 11, 2002, in
England.  When asked by reporter Greg Dropkin how come "israel" was able
to hide from the eyes of the world all the atrocities it committed
against Palestinians in 1948 Pappe retorted: 

"Because of the Holocaust it was easier for Israel to do it than for any
other nation, I think. And it succeeded. " 

But make no mistake about it!  Pappe might be the cream of the crop, but
don't even think about undermining the "Holocaust" by comparing it to
the Nakba of Palestinians in moral or physical terms.  According to that
crypto-Zionist: "one doesn't, shouldn't and cannot equate a genocide
with ethnic cleansing. They are both terrible things but definitely a
genocide is a far worse human crime than ethnic cleansing. And one
should not equate the Holocaust with the Nakbah. " 

Don't you love this?  I do, because it shows exactly what the alleged
Hollowcause is supposed to do, particularly to those pro-Palestinians so
eager to avert it. 

But does Illan Pappe stop here? 

Enjoy this from someone who doesn't allow to compare the moral and
physical aspects of the "Holocaust" and the Nakba of 1948.  He is
saying, our suffering was greater AND YOU AS PALESTINIANS SHOULD
RECOGNIZE THAT.  Dig this: "But there is a dialectical connection
between the Holocaust and the Nakbah. On two levels. One is the fact
that there is a chain of victimisation here. The Palestinians are the
victims of the victims of the Holocaust. And you would have expected the
victims of the Holocaust not to perpetrate any crimes against humanity.
And definitely when you start looking at exactly what had been done to
the Palestinians, what is being done to the Palestinians nowadays you
can see, not from the genocide phase of the Holocaust, I think there is
no resemblance there, but definitely from the pre-extermination phase
there are many, many things which resemble. Because ethnic cleansing
also took place in Nazi Germany, and discrimination also took place
before the horrible phase of extermination. So that's on one level. The
second level is no less important, that there is what I call the "Nakbah
Denial", "Catastrophe Denial". I think there is a similar "Holocaust
Denial" on the Palestinian side, and I am a great believer that in order
to further the chances of reconciliation, you have to have a kind of
link, an association between the ability of the Israelis to stop denying
the Nakbah, and the Palestinians accepting that the Holocaust plays a
role in the life of Jews in Israel, and the life of Jews everywhere. I'm
not inventing the wheel, this was first mentioned by Edward Said in his
book "The Dispossession of the Palestinians", but I think it's a good
idea. That we are all there victims also of the Holocaust, not only of
what we are doing to each other. " 

Now, I hope at least some of you see why I have been so critical of
Edward Said in spreading Hollowcause consciousness amongst Palestinians.
But if you don't, fine!  Let's at least agree that both types, those who
recognize the Hollowcause like Mr. Ed. Said, and those who say it's a
bunch of crap, say that you cannot remove it from the equation of the
Arab-Zionist conflict.  That's all I am saying.  The difference is that
in the case of Said, accepting the received version of the Hollowcause
has led him logically to espouse calls for co-existence, against human
bombs, anti-Islamism and anti-Arab nationalism.  Whereas recognizing the
you to butt heads with it directly, with collateral damage amonst our
alleged supporters amongst western 'leftists' (who also happen to
embrace the Hollowcause believe it or not!) remaining only a minor

If the Hollowcause is a major problem for our struggle, then we should
do a better job of explaining why to our potential supporters in the
west, which is what the staff of the Free Arab Voice tried to do in
three separate issues of FAV that you can find on the following links: 

Before you click on those links, however, allow me to present yet
another example to illustrate what the Hollowcause is to public opinion
in the west.  As an Arab, do you know how unmoved you would be if
someone presented you with photos of Jewish 'victims' of a Palestinian
human bomb?  When you are forced to hide your enjoyment of these sights
because you have to explain it to someone from the West, your immediate
reaction is typically: well, that is like less than one percent of
atrocities visited upon us.  We are far behind on paying back all that
we owe them still.  Okay!  That is exactly, and I mean exactly, the
psychological impact of the Hollowcause on western audiences when they
see Palestinian suffering.  That REAL Palestinian suffering is DWARFED
by the FAKE suffering of the Hollowcause.  You know what I mean. 

Now go say it's irrelevant as much as you want. 

The media machine and the entertainment industry have not been playing
marbles on the side walk for the last few decades.  The Hollowcause is
the LICENSE TO KILL of the Jew in Palestine and the Arab region.  But
the Hollowcause is also a Jewish license to rise above international law
and keep Jewish/Zionist power above any inquiry under the threat of
being branded with 'anti-semitism'. 

So, let's stop running from this ideological monster, shall we? 

On Trotsky, I only brought him as an example of a Jew who was not able
to rid himself of Jewish, and hence, of Zionist influnces completely.
His real name is Lev Bronstein, and he is a far cry from others, like
Stalin, who may have had a Jewish grandfather or grandmother somewhere
sometime.  Lev Bronstein (Trotsky) was Jewish by culture as well. Marx's
father, for example, had converted to Christianity and his mother was
not Jewish.  Mainly, he didn't grow up in a Jewish environment.  Neither
did he associate with with Jews. 

Anyway, below you shall find excerpts of Lev Bronstein's (Trotsky's)
infamous interview with Forwartz, the Yiddish Magazine that came out of
New York, in 1937. 

In my personal opinion, it represents, at least, a clean break from his
former clearly anti-Zionist positions at the turn of the century. 

Specifically, in the interview below, I found that he has reneged on
Bolshevik positions on the Jewish question in at least three aspects: 

1) he started recognizing Jews as a nation where Marx and Lenin
considered that Jewish nationhood was imaginary and reactionary. 

2) he accepted the principle of a Jewish state, where Lenin and Marx
considered the solution to the Jewish question to be assimilation, not
territorialism.  In fact, that was the bone of contention between Lenin
and the BUND party: assimilation for Jews or territorialism 

3) he accepted the principle of Jewish immigration to Palestine,
although he postulated that such immigration and statehood should take
place under a socialist, not a British imperialist banner. 

Of course, I realize that Trotsky had had a record on the Jewish
question that contradicts the positions below.  In fact, perhaps we, as
Arabs, were lucky that uncle Stalin took him before Bronstein had had
the opportunity to formulate an even more sinister elaboration of
Zionism than anything the "leftists" we know today can ever come up

With all respect due to Trotskytes's personal points of view... 

There is just nothing personal about supporting Zionism. 

That, as I said earlier in reference to the Hollowcause, must be
confronted head-on, wherever we may find it. 

Later Ibrahim Alloush 

In confirmation and in the year 1937 Bronstein (Trotsky) was interviewed
to the effect that; 

One must therefore reckon with the fact that the Jewish nation will
maintain itself for an entire epoch to come. Now, the nation cannot
normally exist without a common territory. Zionism springs from this
very idea. But the facts of every passing day demonstrate to us that
Zionism is incapable of resolving the Jewish question. The conflict
between the Jews and Arabs in Palestine acquires a more and more tragic
and more and more menacing character. I do not at all believe that the
Jewish question can be resolved within the framework of rotting
capitalism and under the control of British imperialism. 

And how, you ask me, can socialism solve this question? On this point I
can but offer hypotheses. Once socialism has become master of our planet
or al least of its most important sections, it will have unimaginable
resources in all domains. Human history has witnessed the epoch of great
migrations on the basis of barbarism. Socialism will open the
possibility of great migrations on the basis of thye most developed
techique and culture. It goes without saying that what is here involved
is not compulsory displacement, that is, the creation of new ghettos for
certain nationalities, displacements freely consented to, or rather
demanded by certain nationalities or parts of nationalities. The
dispersed Jews who would want to be reassembled in the same community
will find sufficiently extensive and rich spot under the sun. The same
possibility will be opened for the Arabs, as for all other scattered
nations. National topography will become a part of the planned economy.
This is the grand historical perspective that I envisage. To work for
international socialism means to work for the solution of the Jewish
question. 108 

The very same methods of solving the Jewish quesiton whihc under
decaying capitalism have a utopian and reactionary character 
(Zionism), will, under the regime of a socialist federation, take on a
real and salutary meaning. 109 

The need and desire for Jewish territory that is self-determinant --
freed from expulsions and pogroms -- has been led into the fortified
ghetto being called Eretz Yisroel but which actually operates as the
State of Israel under the auspices of the United States of America. 

108.  Trotsky, Leon Jews Must Have a Land, Trotsky Declares 

Forwaerts, 24 January 1937, p. 1 & 9 (in Yiddish) 

Interview (with Jewish Telepraphic Agency), 18 January 1937 

English translation in 

Leon Trotsky on the Jewish Question, p. 20-2 

see also Archives, T3973 

see Forwaerts, 28 January 1937, p. 6 & 8 

for another correspondent's account 

see also, The Social and Political Thought of Leon Trotsky 

ibid., p. 550-551 


Trotsky (Thermidor and Anti-Semitism, p. 215) 


The Social and Political Thought of Leon Trotsky, p. 554 


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