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

Nick Fredman srcsra at scu.edu.au
Sun Aug 6 19:09:12 MDT 2006

In general in this discussion that I¹ve just caught up on I¹m in agreement
more with Adam/Cleon42 than Joaquin. It seems to me bleedin¹ obvious that
anti-semitism is quite different to general anti-"whitey" type prejudice in
oppressed communities. Anti-semitism can be but is not just an unfortunate
misunderstanding about the fight against oppression, as it both has a
despicable history as a *real* social relation, as a reflection of White
petty bourgeois paranoia in conditions of capitalist decay, that can be
taken up by the bourgeoisie for its own purposes, and is still being
reproduced in some areas such as its classical home of Eastern Europe for
these "classical reasons". See e.g. Boris Kagarlitsky on the anti-semitism
of the Russian "Communist" Party
http://www.greenleft.org.au/back/2005/616/616p21.htm .

It is idealist to think that this "real" anti-semitism cannot affect the
militants of the Arab revolution and the solidarity movement (though I would
think that it's a mark of the progressiveness of these movements and these
forms of nationalism that anti-semitism in fact seems to affect them very
little), and that socialists should not be on guard about it, and treat it
*somewhat* differently from general understandable anti-whitey prejudice, in
the context of anti-Arab prejudice and Islamophobia being massively bigger
problems in the world today (not that I'm lecturing anyone *how* to deal
with it). 

However one thing Adam wrote (Sat, 5 Aug 2006 07:00:20 -0700) was I think
hugely off the mark:

>>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<<.

But surely the memory of the Holocaust is abused by Zionists every day in a
disgustingly ideological manner. Check out the following comments from an
Australian liberal anti-Zionist Jew in a Sydney Morning Herald op-ed on


The other night in Sydney at the Great Synagogue a speaker defended the
incursion into Lebanon on the grounds that it would prevent a further

Given arguments of this nature, questions need to be asked. What right does
a national government have to speak on behalf of those who died? What
sanctions the deploying of that legacy in order to justify the bombing of
Lebanon? For a Jew, and indeed for others, these are profound and important

Understanding the Holocaust, tracing its impact upon how we think today, is
a project that endures. Moreover, it is a project that resists easy
summation. The idea that it can figure as an element of state policy is both
an intellectual and ethical scandal. This needs to be said.

Until Jews are prepared to articulate the need to sever the identification
of Judaism and Israel, anti-Semitism will flourish. Until Jews are prepared
to argue that the Holocaust and its legacy is not the province of a nation
state, let alone a justification for Zionism, our responsibility in relation
to the dead will continue to be betrayed. We should demand better of

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