[Marxism] To combat left anti-semitism, Corbynism must change the way it sees the world

A.R. G amithrgupta at gmail.com
Wed Mar 28 15:13:14 MDT 2018

Tony Greenstein's response to Seymour in the comments is:

As a matter of fact the long standing Jewish activist who defended free
speech on holocaust denial, Miko Peled, did so at a Free Speech on Israel
meeting not a JVL one. And it was more a throwaway remark. But contrast
this with the open organising of Zionist activists with EDL and Britain
1st. Something which is mirrored with the alt-Right in the USA and Israel's
friendliness with anti-Semitic regimes in Eastern Europe. Or even the Tory
membership of the European Conservaative & reform group in the European
Parliament which has 2 anti-semitic parties in it - the Polish Law &
Justice Party and the Latvian LNNK.
I assume the 'Jewish socialist ranting about "Zios"' is myself. I use the
term Zio for a particular reason. Not to allow racists to control the
narrative. Zio is short for Zionist, which is also a word the JLM want
banned. why because it is held to be synonymous with Jew. well that's only
the case if Zionists and Jews are synonymous, an anti-semitic position.
I find it strange that Richard speaks positively about the JLM. This is the
British wing of the racist Israeli Labour Party, a party of ethnic
cleansing. Wholly anti-Palestinian and also a supporter of Netanyahu's
deportation of African refugees. To see this group as anything other than a
cover for the Israeli government is amazing. You will not find any
criticism of Israel or Zionism on its website. Richard has effectively
abandoned an anti-Zionist analysis in favour of subjectivism.
And the tired old cliche about the 'socialism of fools' was in an entirely
different period when opposition to Jews was a false anti-capitalism. That
is not true today. What we are seeing is the instrumentalisation of
antisemitism in the battle to topple Corbyn. I am really surprised that
Richard has moved so far to the Right in his time away from the SWP that he
now feels the need to attack those of us fighting the Zionists and the
Right inside the LP or in my case having newly been expelled.
Richard might recall that I was responsible for picketing the SWP when it
hosted Atzmon back in 2005. I know he was unhappy with their position but
his criticisms publicly were very muted. I recognise anti-semitism where it
occurs but in this case it is entirely absent.

I actually agree with TG this time, even if I would have blamed him for
exactly the behavior for which he criticizes RS in other instances. RS's
critique is nit-picky. Indeed, it is entirely appropriate to challenge
Zionism at a JLM Meeting, which RS suggests to be lacking in tact in his
fuller version of the article. Sounds like RS is also getting some of the
facts incorrect re: some offhand remark about genocide denial, which again
emphasizes how tenuous these kinds of claims can be and how they take on a
life of their own on the internet.

The whole business about a mural frankly sounds like much ado about
nothing. I recall similar magnifying glass scrutiny over an anti-Zionist
cartoon condemning Alan Dershowitz at Berkeley. The artist again claimed it
was a straight-forward political criticism while others drudged through it
looking for evidence of anti-Semitic tropes.

Amith R. Gupta

On Wed, Mar 28, 2018 at 4:53 PM, Louis Proyect via Marxism <
marxism at lists.csbs.utah.edu> wrote:

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> Just a reminder. I posted a link to Richard Seymour's analysis of this
> issue the other day. I don't have much use for his Lacanian mumbo-jumbo but
> he is probably one of England's most insightful supporters of Jeremy
> Corbyn. He wrote:
> Mear One's mural was antisemitic. If Trump posted an image of that mural
> on his Twitter feed, it would immediately be recognised for what it is. It
> is the idea that it is in some way associated with the Left, promoted by
> the artist himself and by some of those who offer him platforms, that has
> caused confusion.
> This means that what the Left says about antisemitism matters, because it
> can either marginalise it or normalise it among people who listen to what
> the Left is saying. Lutfur Rahman was right to have it painted over. Corbyn
> was wrong to have defended it in a Facebook comment at the time, and he's
> rightly embarrassed about it and trying to fix it. It's the least that any
> leader of the Left should do. I am not suggesting his politics should be
> judged on the basis of an offhand Facebook comment, but he's right, and not
> pusillanimous as some think, to address it at the scale that he is.
> Nothing would be worse, at this moment, than for the Left to adopt the
> crankish, defensive and pointlessly antagonistic rhetoric of some of those
> organising 'against the witch hunt'. I have no doubt that many of Corbyn's
> critics are recklessly opportunistic, and instrumentalising the issue for
> ends that aren't to do with reducing antisemitism. I also think it
> ludicrous that media reports have consistently inflated unrepresentative
> examples of antisemitic behaviour into evidence of systemic, pervasive
> antisemitism in Labour -- on which issue, the Jewish Labour Movement has
> made some constructive statements. (Also listen to Jamie Stern-Weiner.)
> But that isn't a reason to dodge this, or the wider issue. At a time when
> various forms of fascism and populist reaction are on the rise,
> antisemitism risks acquiring a degree of political clout it hasn't had for
> decades. The Left has a unique responsibility to address and combat this,
> both in itself and as part of a general increase in racism. It would be
> unable to do so if it was tying itself up in knots defending the
> indefensible.
> full: https://www.patreon.com/posts/three-points-and-17775436
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