Socialist Unity, the amusingly titled pro-RESPECT Renewal blog, has an article up by Tony Greenstein, who is upset about pro-Atzmonites defaming him on the University College Cork Palestinian Solidarity Campaign. His “biography” has been defaced so that it now says:
Today Tony Greenstein is ‘shifting the emphasis on Palestine solidarity onto his obsessive crusade against “anti-semitism”. Greenstein is today closer to the infamous Engage crowd than to anything that purports to be solidarity with the Palestinians.’
The rest of the article consists of a kvetch about his splendid anti-Zionist credentials, and surprise that those who maintain the Cork PSC prefer the Atzmonite conception of Greenstein, to his own. He is evidently shocked and stunned to find that his comrades over the water have failed to detect anti-jewish racism, or to take it seriously.
The article is followed by a reasonable piece by Andy Newman entitled “The Pernicious Influence of Gilad Atzmon”, which concludes with the familiar suggestion that Atzmon may be a Mossad agent. Newman argues:
If the Palestinian solidarity movement is infiltrated by anti-Semites and holocaust deniers this is a gift to the most extreme supporters of Zionism and Israel. It mystifies me why activists are prepared to turn a blind eye to anti-Semitism when they would quite correctly refuse to have anything to do with racists, homophobes or other bigots. It is as if some forms of bigotry are acceptable, or it is politically inconvenient to oppose them.
We should also utterly condemn any idea of a hierarchy of oppression where anti-Semitism is tolerated. The political mainstream is increasingly racialised, for example with the demonising of Muslims, this is the perfect breeding ground for a similarly racialised revival of anti-Semitism.
Tony Greenstein correctly identifies the melding together of anti-Zionism and anti-Semitism (although, true to form, blames “the Zionists” for the confusion):
What is disturbing is that people you would expect to know better are now becoming less and less able to distinguish anti-semitism from anti-Zionism. The Zionists have claimed for so long that being Jewish means being Zionist that some in the solidarity movement are beginning to accept these claims as their own. It is of course a tragic comedy of its own but if the politics of Jewish Power were to take off then it would severely weaken the Palestine solidarity movement, which I’ve spent 30 years working in.
Or take the Indymedia UK network. Anarchists and their periphery may not be the most theoretically fine tuned of activists but they’ve always been able to sniff out racism and fascism. Now what we are seeing is the substitution of conspiracy theories, including Jewish ones, for anything that resembles analysis. In other words conspiracy theories represent a backward and reactionary substitute for the politics of class.
Ian Donovan – a staunch defender of the SWP-promoted Atzmon – has something interesting to say:
The difference being that there is no imperialist campaign to demonise Jews. Nor is there likely to be. That is a radical turn-round from the situation in the early part of the last century when Jews were demonised in a manner that was not simply racism, but also a counter-revolutionary paranoia derived from two different world revolutionary movements – the bourgeois and the proletarian – and the percieved role of Jewish intellectuals in both.
The paranoid theory that the Jews were the subversive force behind both bourgeois revolutions and ‘communism’ is what drove the genocide of the Jews by the ’super-Wrangel’ (Trotsky) Adolf Hitler. But that paranoid racism-plus theory was put on life-support by the outcome of WWII and was finally killed by the Six-Day War, as the ‘Jewish state’ became a key force for counterrevolution worldwide.
There’s a slight unreality about this debate. Socialist Unity is the soapbox for RESPECT Renewal: the Islamist-Trot alliance. Senior Islamist RESPECT Renewal members, including Abdulrahman Jafar, do in fact believe that jews are secretly controlling UK and US foreign policy.
The “paranoid theory” that Ian Donovan thinks is dead, is in fact alive and well within RESPECT Renewal. It is also the absolute bedrock of Islamist politics. It is even hardwired into the Hamas Covenant.
And, amazingly, none of them appear to be able to make a link between their own conspiracism about jews, Israel and “Imperialism”, and their alliance with the “objectively anti-Imperialist” Islamist Far Right, and the resurgence of that “paranoid theory” within Left and Islamist politics.
Good for Andy for challenging racism, on his blog, when one of his comrades is directly attacked. It must be easier for Andy to do it, now that he’s no longer in alliance in RESPECT with the SWP: the party which did the most to mainstream and promote Atzmon.
However, I’d be much more impressed if he took on the open racists and conspiracists in his own party.