[Marxism] The "anti-semitism" of the oppressed, etc.?? (was: How to answer these questions?)

cleon42 at yahoo.com cleon42 at yahoo.com
Sat Aug 5 08:00:20 MDT 2006

--- Joaquin Bustelo <jbustelo at bellsouth.net> wrote:
> doesn't he
> think he has let polemical zeal or depth of feeling about this point
> lead
> him to some rather bizarre and improbable conclusions?

Don't you think your lack of knowledge about the Palestinian situation
in general, and the Palestine solidarity movement, should let you set
back and ask QUESTIONS rather than dictate what the reality is?
> 	I pointed out --rather emphatically I think-- that if people
> fighting the Zionist entity sometimes speak in terms of Jews and so
> on, that
> is first and foremost because that's the way the Zionist entity
> itself and
> the Zionist movement presents and projects itself (and I would add
> here,
> with the very vocal support of the most prominent and visible
> organizations
> that claim to speak for Jews in the United States and elsewhere), and
> because the actions of the Zionists, not just the state, but the
> colonial-settler population on which it rests.  
> 	So I object to going around criticizing the victims of the Zionists
> for talking in terms of "Jews" when it is the Zionists themselves
> that are
> overwhelmingly responsible for that situation.

Nobody's saying the Zionists *aren't* responsible for that situation.

The difference is that you think that because the Zionists are
responsible for that situation, that makes talk of "the Jews" as the
enemy "righteous."

Which is a reprehensible and despicable position to take.

> 	This is an entirely different matter from saying the position of the
> Zionist entity in this regard is "correct" in some sense. I said
> nothing to
> suggest or imply that the Zionists should not be attacked on this
> score
> also, or that Nazis should not be attacked on these grounds, etc.
> Those are
> all attitudes I do not share.

Yet, the moment we start struggling against anti-Semitism (you'll have
to forgive me if I don't adopt the Militant's klunky phrase "Jew
), we have to make sure virgin Arab ears don't hear us, lest we be
critical of any incorrect positions they might have.
> 	Adam seems to be very focused on the truth (or falsity) of the
> statement of whether Zionism is an expression of Judaism or
> Jewishness.

Well, being the anti-Zionist Jew that I am, who is (unlike yourself)
actively involved and engaged with actual Palestinians, yes, I do admit
some passing interest in the subject.

> I am
> much more interested in what political motion is being expressed in
> various
> statements, what is their SOCIAL CONTENT  and thus I object,
> stridently, to
> talk of "Arab" or "Palestinian" anti-Semitism. 

Feel free to object all you want; that doesn't make it any less of a

> 	Anti-Semitism is NOT some "sentiment" or "idea," it is a form of
> racism, of "white supremacy," so to speak, and the Palestinians are
> NOT the
> perpetrators of "anti Semitism" AT ALL, not in the slightest, not one
> tiny
> bit. They are in fact the VICTIMS of racism and white supremacy. 

And they are, in every sense, the VICTIMS of anti-Semitism. I mean that
not in the vague sense that Arabs are Semites, but in the very fact
that Zionism itself is what spreads these anti-Semitic concepts--that
the actions of Israel are the actions of the Jewish people, that
Zionism = Judaism, etc.

Which is the context in which these discussions come up. When
Palestinians take on that anti-Semitic character, they are
internalizing the racism that oppresses them in the first place.

> 	I reject the category of "anti-Semitism" as being "hatred of Jews"
> in general,

You can reject that the pope is Catholic, for all I care.

> and most of all when the specific Jews involved are the
> colonial
> settler/occupiers of Palestine. Call them Zionists, Israelis,
> foreigners,
> usurpers, or --yes-- Jews, the character of the sentiment does not
> change
> because of how people may describe those that this rage is directed

The majority of whom are just working stiffs like everyone else. A
number of whom are from Palestinian families. (Here's your history
lesson for the day: "Palestinian Jew" is not a contradiction in terms.)

> 	And it is not *at all* a question of how many supposed blood libels
> may be found in the screed of some Muslim preacher or an Arab or
> Palestinian
> web page. It is a question of *social* and *political* relations. The
> Palestinians are the VICTIMS not the criminals. 

Which is why, just as it's important for Jews to stand up to Zionists,
it's imperitive for Palestinians to stand up to such racism.

Fortunately, as I said, the majority of the Palestinians and Arabs I
have worked with are far more advanced politically on this question
than you are.
> And, yes, I think criticizing the VICTIMS of racism for
> being
> racists themselves is a form of pandering to racism. 

When someone brings up Jewish conspiracy theories, I am going to
explain why they're wrong. If someone brings up Holocaust denial, I'm
going to explain why they're wrong.

As someone said--our job, as revolutionaries, is to tell the truth.

And if you seriously think that telling the truth in such matters
amounts to "pandering to racism," then you need to seriously reevaluate
your claim to be a Marxist or progressive of any sort.

> 	And I don't really care HOW many volumes of the Protocols of the
> Elders of Zion the victims sell in their bookstores. IF such garbage
> gets a
> hearing among some of the oppressed, it is PRECISELY because the
> THEMSELVES by their actions have made it credible and because

And therefore, such garbage shouldn't be questioned? What kind of
horseshit philosophy is that?

> --frankly,
> there's no way of getting around saying this-- many/most Jews have
> made the
> Zionist claim to be the political/national expression of Judaism or
> Jewishness *credible* to the victims of this form of racism by
> supporting
> that claim.

So now we're back to square one. Palestinians hate the Jews because,
well, the Jews deserve it.

> 	And I have to say something else, that I know is going to cause a
> real shitstorm, but it needs to be raised. Vis a vis the
> Palestinians, "Jew"
> is just another flavor of white people.

Jesus tapdancing Christ. You know this how, exactly?

You don't speak Arabic.
You don't work with Palestinians on a regular basis.
You are not involved, on any level, in anti-war or Palestine solidarity
I'm willing to bet you don't even give a passing glance to the english
Al-Jazeera site.

Even more than the rest of your screed, it's your complete arrogance in
claiming to know how Palestinians view the world that infuriates me.

> 	But say "Jew" in relation to the Zionist entity, and the shit hits
> the fan. And the VICTIMS of what certainly presents itself as a
> Jewish
> variant of white racism start getting called "anti-Semites" evoking
> images
> of "the" holocaust. 

Well, you ARE the one who talked about mass slaughter of Jews as
somehow "righteous." If it bothers you that talking about Jews and the
Zionist entity brings up images of genocide, you probably shouldn't
start by ENDORSING IT!
> 	Now, I know there are historical reasons for this. But if it were
> JUST history that was the explanation for this, then people would
> recoil at
> using the same word --holocaust or genocide-- for what was done to
> European
> Jewry and what was done to Native Americans. Because there were tens
> of
> millions of human beings when white European colonial settlers
> started
> infesting what is now the United States. And in the 1900 census,
> after the
> Wounded Knee massacre, there were only 100,000 left. For the
> mathematically
> challenged, that's more than 99% wiped out. The overwhelming majority
> of
> those peoples were wiped out to the very last individual. And you can
> tell a
> very similar story about Blacks in the "New World." Yet "the"
> holocaust is
> NOT what white folks did to Native Americans, or to Blacks, it is the
> other
> one.
> 	There is a manipulation of the genocide committed against the Jews
> by (some) Germans. The purpose of this manipulation is to prevent it
> being
> said that (some) Jews are committing genocide and crimes against
> humanity
> today.

Oh, for fuck's sake. The use of the word "Holocaust" is some Jewish
plot to keep people from acknowledging the genocidal actions of Israel?
You're COMPLETELY off the deep end, here.

> You can say Europeans committed genocide against the native
> peoples
> of the United States, that the Spanish did so to the native peoples
> of
> Hispaniola and Cuba and Puerto Rico, and everyone understands it was
> *some*
> Europeans or some Spaniards and you don't need to have 22 pages of
> politically correct disclaimers.
> 	But say that Jews are massacring innocent women and children in
> Lebanon today, instead of "the Zionists," and it becomes a blood
> libel.

Inexplicably, since helping found Atlanta Palestine Solidarity some
years ago with a majority of honest-to-god Palestinians and Arabs--the
vast majority of which you could not name, much less have regular
contact with--we've managed to avoid issuing statements about "the
Jews," or "22 pages of politically correct disclaimers."

I don't know HOW we've managed.

> 	And then if some Palestinian kid says, "kill the Jews" we're
> suddenly denouncing him,

Nobody's talking about "denouncing" anyone. You've gone from hyperbole
to outright lies.

> but about the
> privileging
> of Jews or Judaism or Jewishness above all other brands and flavors
> of
> European whiteness,

What utter anti-Semitic bullshit. Being a "Jew" isn't some priveleged
form of European whiteness. We're not some "upper crust" running the
show. Yes, EVEN in Palestine, where "the Jews" are exploited by the
West to keep their client state running.

> Otherwise Yoshie is going to write you up and Adam is going
> to
> launch a struggle against your "anti Semitism."

Yeah. So now only have you jumped the hyperbole ship to swim in an
ocean of lies, you're trying to climb aboard a liferaft of sheer
> 	Palestinian "anti Semitism" DOES NOT EXIST.

Once again, your disconnect from reality becomes clear.

> Jews are not oppressed
> by the Palestinians.

Nobody is saying they are.

> What exists is the justified rage of the
> oppressed
> against their oppressor, and the Zionist lie, propagated, yes, by
> countless
> Jewish people and organizations that support Zionism, that this rage
> and
> hatred of the oppressed against the oppressor is tantamount to "anti
> Semitism." That is the *social* reality. 

If you seriously think the "social reality" is that some Palestinians
hate Jews because, in not so many words, the Jews deserve it, you are
even farther off the deep end than I thought.

> 	And where there is burning rage of the oppressed against their
> oppressors, it is not the job of revolutionaries to play the part of
> the
> fire hose, but to FAN THE FLAMES.

You're right. We should be SUPPORTING any genocidal desires among
Palestinians to kill all the Jews. Hell, let's sponsor a trip to Gaza
to help them build some gas chambers!

Our job is solidarity with the Palestinian struggle. Not a struggle
against "the Joos," the struggle against Israeli colonialism and
imperialism. We should be allying with those that struggle against it.
Likewise, we should be willing to state our differences with those
forces who would distract, divide, and destroy this movement by
transforming it from a struggle against Israel and imperialism into a
struggle against the Jewish people.

Fortunately, as I've said before, the Palestinians tend to have a
bigger clue than you do.


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