[Marxism] Nada Elia: Time to Stop Celebrating Jewish Dissent in Palestine Solidarity Mvmt

DW dwaltersmia at gmail.com
Fri Apr 29 08:07:28 MDT 2016

This discussion is a mine field. I'm only going to comment on the original
post and not the cross discussion/flame war that appears to be brewing. I
will make a short comment on Allison Weir.

I'm not sure what Nada Elia complaining about. Quite honestly she put a lot
of good brain power into this essay and proposes absolutely zip with
regards to addressing "Jewish privilege". Nothing. And, she's wrong, at
least as far as I can interpret it. She praises anti-Zionist Jews for
their solidarity and then condemn's them for doing it. She's all over the
map on this and leaves me totally bewildered as to what she is afraid of.

I find it odd her comments as she's lived in the US (though clearly
ensconced in the Academy) and should know that with 5 1/2 million
Jewish-Americans the politics surrounding Israel, Zionism and the
Palestinians is more or less a regular discussion piece around the dinner
table when issues of their own ethnic background arise. How can it be any
different? How is this a from a "Jewish privileged" POV?? We have been
*pounded* into viewing the Holocaust and Israel as interlinked. We were
dragged to "Israel Day Parades" and "Free Soviet Jews" marches in NYC by the*
hundreds of thousands*!

Elia writes:

"Jewish voices are welcome, of course, in the global denunciation of Zionism
as a racist ideology. Identifying oneself as Jewish when one speaks out
against Israel’s policies also helps dismantle the accusation that seeking
justice for Palestinians is anti-Semitic. Yet there is an inevitable risk
associated with the ongoing privileging of Jewish voices denouncing Israel.
This is because by privileging their voices, we are implicitly accepting
the Zionist narrative of Israel representing all Jews, with very few
exceptions. It is these “exceptions,” then, that Palestinian rights
activists place on a pedestal."

Whaaaaaatttt? So she's denouncing Palestinians and other solidarity
activists who "place on a pedestal" Jewish-Americans who denounce Israel.
Again, WTF?? Damned if you do, damned if you don't. WTF is she asking for
and who, who pray tell is she appealing to? If you want Jewish-Americans or
Palestinians to point to these Jewish-Americans as proving Israel
specifically and Zionism more generally then don't condemn people who are
pointing this out!!! This "privilege checking" here is utter
crap...especially in the utter almost metaphysical way she is trying to
prove her point.

The other point, not brought out by her, is that it's not about "Jews" but
"Jewish-Americans". Jewish-Americas are, *exactly* like Italian-Americans,
Greek-Americans, etc a hyphenated white American sub-ethnic group. The
operative term being white and *American* (By which I mean citizens of the
US). The 'group' as amorphous and heterogeneous as it is, has it's own
dynamics that are an ongoing discussion about it's relationship to Israel.
Given the huge political influence of groups of Jewish-Americans in US
politics, it's necessary to emphasis whenever it comes up, that not all
members of this community follow the Zionist party line. How is that
"privileging" anything whatsoever?

Lastly on Alison Weir. Most people on this list know that Jewish Voices for
Peace broke relations with her. (in turn, few notable pro-Palestinian
activists like Paul Larudee have broken ties with JVP). Her argument boils
down to that "If only Americans knew" about the power and influence the
Israeli's have via their Jewish agents in the US (AIPAC, etc), then US
policy would somehow be pro-Palestinian or at least not pro-Israel. She as
part of a wing of very non-Marxist academics and speakers who are,
objectively, ideological decedents of the old 1950s era "Arab Lobby" who
argued that US Imperialism's interests (especially with regard to building
an anti-Soviet block in the Arab world) lie with anti-Israeli Arab states
and not with Israel. Her politics are very much like the more staid
academics John J. Mearsheimer and Stephen M. Walt who try to prove the same
thesis in their book "The Israel Lobby". (they do a far better job of this
than Weir but they are equally wrong in their thesis).

Weir, besides have zero understanding of Imperialism as a class, is notable
because she refuses to take up blatant anti-Jewish bigotry when it's thrown
in her face on the many right-wing, tea-party like radio stations she
appears on. Some of these broadcasts are on YouTube or on those networks
steaming audio. She simply sits there and avoids confronting such bigotry.
Among many Palestinian solidarity activists, this is unforgivable.

David W.

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