[Marxism] How to answer these questions?

Ian Pace ian at ianpace.com
Fri Aug 4 03:02:00 MDT 2006

From: "Joaquin Bustelo" <jbustelo at bellsouth.net>

> Adam writes: "How can you say this with a straight face? We should sit 
> back
> and accept anti-Semitism *now*, and maybe later we can address it when the
> movement gets stronger?"
> And in an earlier post: "When we see someone say Israel speaks for the
> Jewish people, we say, 'no, that's NOT correct' --whether it's AIPAC, 
> Arabs,
> or a neo-Nazi saying it. Those of us who are Jewish say it even louder."

That is too-easy rhetoric that does not address the situation at hand. A 
majority of Jewish people, if polls and the like are anything to go by, do 
in one sense or another identify with Zionism and the state of Israel. Of 
course there are a minority of anti-Zionist Jews; nonetheless those involved 
in political action against the state of Israel are faced with the fact that 
they are taking a position which puts them at odds with the majority of 
Jewish people, if they do so from an anti-Zionist point of view. That is 
what makes this a more difficult issue to organise around than was the case 
with, say, South Africa. White South Africans or those 
ethnically/culturally/religiously connected to them did not form a major 
presence outside of SA itself.
> I thank Adam for making my point for me.
> This OBSESSION with "correcting" the Palestinians puts an EQUAL SIGNS
> between (real) anti-Jewish bigotry and the completely justifiable HATRED 
> of
> the Palestinians and Arabs of the Zionist entity and the POPULATION 
> (repeat:
> *POPULATION*) on which it rests.

This is so crude. If the hatred by Palestinians and Arabs were simply of the 
Zionist entity, then that would be fine. But when there is talk of driving 
all Jews into the sea, and the like, it becomes much more than that. There 
were some half-baked Nazi plans to relocate the entire European Jewish 
population in Madagascar or elsewhere (and there were, as we all know, some 
links between Nazis and Zionists). Wanting a whole people to be removed 
without exception from a part of the world whilst not minding if they live 
elsewhere in distant places will hardly wash as 'not being anti-semitic'.
> Do you all feel compelled every time a Black Muslim Minister excorciates
> blue-eyed devils, talks about what the "white man" did to Black people, to
> start issuing all sorts of corrections, amplifications and explanations? 
> Do
> you for a single second believe everything Minister Malcolm taught about 
> the
> white man was in the slightest bit unjustified, undeserved?

Some of it was, yes - to preach race rather than power and economics is 
ultimately wrong. If you follow your line of reasoning, I could ask if you 
believe that, just after 1945, everything the leading Zionist leaders 
thought about anyone non-Jewish was in the slightest bit unjustified, 
undeserved? Bearing in mind that there were indeed some prominent Arab 
leaders who were Nazi supporters (e.g. the Mufti, Sadat)? I know that things 
are different now, but it is back then when the actions which are intrinsic 
to the continuing situation in Israel-Palestine took place.

I do think what they thought was unjustified, undeserved, yes. Same with 
Serbian feelings towards Croats, Germans, etc. And the same with anything 
involving the preaching of hatred towards a whole people in racial/ethnic 
terms, whether or not the latter have power.
> In the good old days of the anti-Vietnam war movement, Chicanos used to
> express their solidarity with the just struggle of the Vietnamese people
> with a rhythmic, two-word chant: "Gringos, matenlos!"
> It was ultraleft as all get out, I'll grant you that, but do you think 
> there
> was anything to be gained by PREACHING at these young rebels along the 
> lines
> that Yoshie proposed be addressed to Palestinians?
This whole thread started concerning the question of how gain support for 
campaigns against Israel's current actions from moderate people who are 
deterred by the very clear evidence of anti-semitism in Hizbollah and other 
Arab/Palestinian organisations. This sort of angry rhetoric offers no answer 
to that question - indeed it could be taken to confirm precisely the charges 
routinely placed against the left, that they are themselves anti-semitic or 
at the very least do not care about anti-semitism. Following your line about 
Malcolm X, it almost sounds like you are saying that anti-semitism is 
deserved and justified on account of the actions of Israel. Try garnering 
support for a campaign on that basis.

It seems you have little notion of how powerful a weapon the anti-semitism 
card when used against critics of Israel.


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