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

Sheldon Ranz sranz18 at gmail.com
Fri Apr 29 14:17:59 MDT 2016


"Already one poster has suggested that it is simply
common sense that members of the same ethnic group are taken more seriously
by outsiders. That is, factually speaking, not true, "

Actually, quite true.  The most recent example of this is Bernie Sanders
publicly criticizing Netanyahu and not going to the AIPAC conference.  Even
the mainstream media made note as to how his dissent, as the Jewish
presidential contender, made Jewish voices opposed to Israel's government
more respectable.

In addition, in my own liefetime experience as an American Jew, the same
has applied.

On Fri, Apr 29, 2016 at 2:58 PM, A.R. G via Marxism <
marxism at lists.csbs.utah.edu> wrote:

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> @DW
>
> Listen, I agree with you that this is a "minefield". That is why I think we
> should be careful. Already one poster has suggested that it is simply
> common sense that members of the same ethnic group are taken more seriously
> by outsiders. That is, factually speaking, not true, and it is also loaded
> in that we often define race/ethnic group depending on what the subject
> matter is. I.e. a black Jewish guy and a white Jewish guy would not be
> understood to be members of the same ethnic group if they are talking about
> race relations in America, or race relations *domestically* within the
> Israeli Jewish community, but they would be seen as the same race in
> discussing, say, Israel's "return" laws.
>
> "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."
>
> Is that really what you got? She didn't say Jews should stop being
> anti-Zionist. She is talking about whether or not their being anti-Zionist
> *as
> Jews* is a helpful form of advocacy. One can be Jewish but identify their
> allegiance with the Palestinian cause for a number of reasons (out of
> political conviction; out of anti-colonial solidarity; out of some other
> thing). It does not have to be a framework in which one's "Jewishness" is
> the (or even a) defining feature of what legitimates a person's voice. Her
> argument about Chabon was on that point: Why were other activists
> identifying him as a Jewish-American when it had no apparent relevance to
> the arguments he was making? And in so far as it is relevant, what makes it
> relevant other than Israel's stranglehold over both Jewish identity and
> Palestine itself?
>
> "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?"
>
> Again, where does she argue this? I think you're reading other arguments
> into her piece. But in either case, to answer, you are self-admitting that
> there is a "huge political influence of groups of Jewish-Americans in US
> politics". If you are openly stating that that is the reason why Jewish
> dissenting voices need to be promoted, I'm at a loss. That is, by
> definition, privilege. It is the same as saying white people had greater
> political influence (and still do) so we need more of them in anti-racist
> causes. If they get upset or exhibit intolerance toward blacks in the
> group, we should nonetheless tolerate it because of how politically
> significant they are. "Privilege" in a nut-shell.
>
> Re: Weir, I think she has made some decisions I disagree with, but I feel
> that way about virtually everyone I've met in left circles. I think the
> characterization you have of both her website and her talks is completely
> off. Even a brief perusal of her website makes it clear that her advocacy
> is not based on American exceptionalism. It is simply geared toward an
> American audience ("If only you people knew!!!"), much in the same way left
> anti-war organizers have always emphasized "the war is at home," etc. To
> the extent that Walt/Mearsheimer-style realism appears on her website or in
> her advocacy (and mind you, it appears everywhere else including on the
> Left) it is one of about 10 different perspectives, wherein the only common
> theme is opposition to Israeli policy. I also do not agree with your
> reading of her talks. From what I've seen, she has tried to speak out when
> loonies start attacking "the Jews"; perhaps she could do better, but that
> sounds like an attempt at witch-hunting to me. There would be very few left
> on the left, including at least one board member of JVP, if these standards
> were applied across the board, and certainly if they were applied to
> commentary about other ethnic groups. I think it is obvious that the
> Movement has changed in its political character particularly over the last
> few years and there is a lack of serious understanding of racism within the
> movement. I think the comments above, while certainly not "racist," exhibit
> a certain level of tone-deafness about the issue.
>
>
>
> - Amith
>
> On Fri, Apr 29, 2016 at 10:24 AM, Louis Proyect via Marxism <
> marxism at lists.csbs.utah.edu> wrote:
>
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> > On 4/29/16 10:07 AM, DW via Marxism wrote:
> >
> >> 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.
> >>
> >
> > A lot of these problems are rooted in the crisis of Marxism. When I
> joined
> > the SWP in 1967, the axis of Palestinian solidarity was in the
> overlapping
> > spheres of radical nationalism and Marxism. Palestinian guerrillas
> > identified with Che Guevara and the Trotskyist movement worldwide was
> > capable of rallying people around class-based slogans and analysis.
> People
> > like Peter Buch and Jon Rothschild used to speak to thousands of people
> on
> > campuses around the country. In 1973 I organized a Militant Forum on the
> > Yom Kippur war in Houston that drew 125 people, including just about
> every
> > radical Arab student in the area as well as the local TV station.
> >
> > So what happened? The left imploded. The USSR went kaput. The Palestinian
> > solidarity movement on campus emerged around BDS but with little
> > involvement from Marxists. You also had a development of "realists"
> opposed
> > to Zionism like Mearsheimer and Walt, as well as liberals fed up with the
> > settlers. You also had Hamas that screwed things up with suicide
> bombing. A
> > complete mess for the most part.
> >
> > In my opinion Allison Weir is a person whose views are shaped by the
> > general milieu, one that is not favorable to a class analysis. In the
> 1970s
> > she would have barely gotten attention. We need to change the objective
> > circumstances in order to promote a POV that can serve the Palestinian
> > cause more effectively. That unfortunately can not be done overnight.
> >
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