Wednesday, April 08, 2009

Reading Hannah Arendt in Cafe Crema

The Cafe Crema issue has been noticed by the redoubtable Brockley Central Blog - part of a Brockley bites post under the heading "Bob From Brockley v Cafe Crema v Israel", with some back and forth in the comments. I started entering into debate sparked by this issue at Jews sans Frontiers, but was just insulted again and again, so am probably not going to continue. Matt made reference to that non-debate at a very interesting comments thread about a post at Racialicious about Defiance, the recent Daniel Craig film about WW2 partisans.


On the topic of comments threads, Noga kicked off an interesting one about Hannah Arendt here. George Szertes, whose post sparked it, has more here and here. For those non-veteran readers of this blog, loads more on Arendt here. (This post, on Alice Walker's love for the people, sets out my view of the Scholem-Arendt debate Mingreli references; this is also pertinent.)

(
Image above is of Hannah Arendt in a Parisian cafe in 1935, stolen from The New Yorker, where it illustrates a fine article by Adam Kirsch.)

Anti-imperialism
We did
Nadine Rosa-Rosso here. Snoopy has more, and on Jose Saramago.

The idiotic nationalism of the likes of Nadine was already nailed in 1935 by the SPGB's Edgar Hardcastle, in this interesting article about Indian nationalism and British imperialism. (H/t Ent.)

Fascism and anti-fascism
Nick Lowles in Searchlight on the European elections. | David T on how to beat the BNP and the Islamic far right. | Hitchens on the Armenian genocide. | Norm on the Nazi/Israel comparison. | Hak Mao on Italian fascism today. | David Aaronovitch on Moussawi and Wilders. (And, from back in January, on the "respectability" of the BNP.) |

Jews
Abroad: Lyn Julius in the Guardian on the "myth of the Mizrahim", plus interesting discussion at ZWord. | The Last Jew in Kabul, a video at NYT.* | RIP Janet Jagan.* | Obama's rabbi.*
At home: David Hirsh on those who like to keep Jews on the couch. | Lewisham Israeli artist made homeless by squatters, and then sees his paintings for sale in Deptford market.

Falling under no particular heading.
Paris at end of WW2 liberation "whites only". | A letter to the great professor Chomsky. | IWCA on the criminal "renegades". | Louis Proyect on my hero, Harvey Pekar.*

Soundtrack to this post
The late Bud Shank, RIP (nb: including "Nature Boy", see here/here), Paulo Conte (h/t Jogo, who points out klezmer flavour of this song), Cote de Pablo (covering Tom Waits, very sexily).

And finally
To those of you celebrating Passover, Chag sameach, as Barack Obama might say. That's me until next week.

*H/t Jogo.

102 comments:

ModernityBlog said...

Bob, you wrote at Elf's den:

"I perhaps single out the opponents of Jewish national self-determination for the lopsidedness of their logic. Are you really telling me that Israel's human rights abuses are worse than all other nations in the world? Worse than Saudi Arabia's, China's, Iran's, Burma's?"

The mere mention of logic in connection with JSF, or the assumption that Elf and his strange associates are actually interested in understanding anyone else's point of view is misplaced.

Elf's attitude is a complete anathema to rationality, you would be better off trying to teach a hedgehog how to dance the samba than expect a reasoned and rational debate at JSF, as the participants are not up to it.

If you search some of the JSF threads discussing the Holocaust or WW2 you will probably see what I mean.

Bob, you are way too kind to Elfites!Just watch out the next time someone attacks Jews JSF will probably be in the vanguard of making excuses for them.

nwo said...

As regards the BNP and Islamists.

You dont need to take on the BNP, you need to take on the Islamists, and you also need to address the immigration problem and the problem of whites (males Christians) being shut out of identity politics(that the Left encourages other groups to play). If its racist and ugly for the indigenous whites to play identity politics then its just as ugly for others to as well. This is not a healthy situation. The BNP is gaining membership not from the Center Right, but from Labour and the Left.

The problem isnt the BNP or the White Working Class, the problem is with the Left that abandoned them. If you quit villifying whites, males, Christians, and the English....and start valuing them...while genuinely confronting the Islamist and Islamic Right...then the BNP will fade. If you dont, then the BNP will continue to grow as an effective counter to the Islamic Right.

You really dont have to challenge the BNP, you have to represent the people of Britain...instead of villifying, marginalizing, and chiding them.

A said...

I don't know what kind of insults were aimed at you, but it does prompt the thought that, given that you are part of the brigade that brands anti-Zionists as inherently antisemitic, and fails to see how insulting that is, my sympathy is limited.

The Contentious Centrist said...

A: "anti-Zionists as inherently antisemitic,"

The vast majority of anti-Zionists are indeed anti-Semites.

There are two ways in which a person can be anti-Zionist and NOT be antisemitic:

1. If his anti-Zionism is just a side branch of a greater and more dominant ideology of considering all nationalist movement as inherently illegitimate.

2. If he is Anti-Zionism is his response as a JEW to Spinoza's idea that the only way Judaism can be "justified" is through territorialization. (To Spinoza, Judaism that is removed from Zion does not make sense).

_________

If the first, then clearly the question is: if all nationalist movements are equally illegitimate, why single out Zionism as the field upon which universal nationalism is battled? And why support the Palestinian national aspirations while delegitimizing the Jewish ones? I dare say that if those anti Zionists acted in good faith, they would insist that the exact same demands be posed to their Palestinian friends. Yet I don't think I ever read of any anti-Zionist fulminator daring to suggest to Palestinians (or Arabs) that they are pursuing illegitimate goals in forging their nationalist aspirations. This absence, this gap between the fine theory and its application is puzzling. What can be the reason that Palestinians are allowed their nationalism while Jews are slanderd for it? What is one to think of such anti-Nationalists whose blood only boils when it is the Jews who pursue a nationalist project? What shall we call those “anti-Zionists”?

__________

If the second case, then the question is asked: why does the Jewish anti-Zionist embrace Palestinian cause by way of fighting what is de-facto, an internal Jewish quarrel? Isn't that rather an opportunistic and self-serving device on the part of these Jewish anti Zionists? And aren't they highly motivated to pronounce the evils that Jewish nationalism causes more universal Jewry because Jews are always an easy football to kick around when you want to promote your own agenda? So what do we call those Jewish anti-Zionists who prey upon Jewish vulnerability and fears in this way and for reasons that have actually nothing whatsoever to do with Palestinians or nationalist movements?

A said...

Ok, CC. Very slowly: Jews can already have a home in any number states, as citizens of those countries, just like the other rainbow of citizens in those countries. Eg. Jewish citizens of Britain. They should be able to be citizens of Israel/Palestine/whatever-state-emerges-in-that-land, but as equal citizens, not holding rights above those of other races and creeds. Israel as a 'Jewish state' with special rights for Jews is not fair and not humane and inherently not democratic. You will bleat that the Jews are 'a nation' and 'a people' and not just a religion or race. But can you name a democratic state that elevates some of its citizens above others on the basis of this fudgy creed/race/conception-of-nationhood? It is like giving, for example, more rights to white Christian Britons than to Britain's other citizens, or declaring Britain a 'White Christian State'.

The Contentious Centrist said...

A "Jews can already have a home in any number states"

As can Palestinians.

In which case, why are you attacking the Jews but not the Palestinians for their political aspirations?

BTW, you are very rude and unnecessarily vulgar in the way you speak in your comments. Why? Has anyone here insulted you? Suggested you were an animal? Or a mentally-challenged person? Why then do you resort to this kind of language?

ModernityBlog said...

"Jews can already have a home in any number states, as citizens of those countries, just like the other rainbow of citizens in those countries."

It is a shame that such historical illiteracy exists today.

Jews lived in Germany for a thousand plus years, also Poland, and parts of Eastern Europe, well integrated until attacked.

No doubt, that's the first that "A" has heard of that?

More recently an official in SA was talking about "no pro-Israel Jews should ever consider South Africa to be their home (sic)"

http://supernatural.blogs.com/weblog/2009/02/cosatu-spokesperson-calls-on-jews-to-leave-sa.html

I imagine that "A" and others would willingly expel Jews from any country if it suited their political agenda.

nwo said...

If the first, then clearly the question is: if all nationalist movements are equally illegitimate, why single out Zionism as the field upon which universal nationalism is battled? --- Noga

All Nationalist movements are not equally illegitmate. Israel falls under the well to do white European moniker....and only they are villified for their identity politics and nationalism....at least this goes for most of the Western Left.

But there no doubt that outright anti Semitism exists....on the Western Right and Left. You see the Western Left falling into anti Semitic tropes....well they do the same to the indigenous populations of Europe...who have been thoroughly villified.

The well to do cultures are seen as nefarious usurpers of wealth and power....who are holding the cultural proletariat down.

The I/P conflict is just a subset of this narrative, worldview....but it is a clarifying example. It shows that the Western Left is about the destruction of these cultures and their replacement with the cultural proletariat....no less.

Waterloo Sunset said...

CC- Yet I don't think I ever read of any anti-Zionist fulminator daring to suggest to Palestinians (or Arabs) that they are pursuing illegitimate goals in forging their nationalist aspirations.

But pieces by groups that take that very analysis have been linked to on this blog. Your failure to read anything that falls outside your nationalist cheerleading is a reflection on you, as opposed to them.

The Contentious Centrist said...

"But pieces by groups that take that very analysis have been linked to on this blog."

I will ignore the ad-homs as it appears that no anti-Zionist is ever capable of responding with any semblance of equanimity to a different opinion.

Do provide an example, if your purpose is to inform rather than insult. I admit I don't read everything and I may have indeed missed something.

Waterloo Sunset said...

I don't think "ad hominem" means what you think it does. I made no comments that were about your personal character, as opposed to your political position.

And while you can obviously disagree with my categorisation of your politics as "nationalist cheerleading", it's an honest evaluation of how I see your ideological stance.

Just for the record, I identify as an "internationalist", as opposed to an "anti-zionist". When I'm de facto opposed to nationalism, I don't see the need to identify any specific nationalism in my self-definition. Which is the case with the vast majority of anti nationalists of the type you describe.

That would seem to substantiate my above point for me. One of the reasons I think you have trouble understanding the anti-nationalist position is because (like nationalists generally) you're prone to seeing these issues through the prism of competing nationalisms, whereas we exist outside that particular worldview.

To answer your request, I don't want to overload you with links, so I'll just give you a handful to start with. (All of which have been previously linked on here).

http://www.marxist.org.uk/2009/01/02/stop-gaza-attacks/

http://en.internationalism.org/node/2764

http://libcom.org/library/no-state-solution-gaza

The Contentious Centrist said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
The Contentious Centrist said...

This comment

"Your failure to read anything that falls outside your nationalist cheerleading is a reflection on you, as opposed to them."

of course is a direct attempt to denigrate my understanding and my ethics by suggesting I'm a mindless cheerleader who can't possibly understand your loftier, strictly intellectual moral purity. Of course no insult or belittling was intended, just the proper response to my political point of view.

______


"Just for the record, I identify as an "internationalist", as opposed to an "anti-zionist"."

But more to the point, since you define yourself an "internationalist" and I was speaking about anti-Zionists, I don't quite see the relevance of your links. I mean, why, if you support internationalism, do you feel obliged to exonerate anti-Zionists who can see nothing wrong with Palestinian nationalism??
_______________
And while we are at the international fantasy world, I’d like to ask you:
Why are your internationalist efforts focussed on Israel/Palestine first? Surely you must know that neither Israelis nor Palestinians are interested in dissolving the border between them. Israelis in any case refuse to be recruited as guinea pigs for your internationalist laboratory.
And another puzzling thought: Why the focus on Israel/Palestine, and not on Egypt, Syria, Jordan, Lebanon at the same time? Why not try to dissolve the border between Iran and Iraq and unite their working classes? And here is the greatest puzzle of all: Why don’t Internationalists work to undo the bonds of nationalism in their own back yard? Perhaps if we, Levantine mentalists, can see proof of the edenic world of propsperous life and justice for all of the internationalist world order in your backyard, we might be induced to want to emulate your example.

Levi9909 said...

Bob - you were not "just insulted again and again". After giving some long and convoluted examples of states you claimed could be compared to Israel or could be considered to be worse, you were given lengthy and detailed responses. At one point I said that "this is fucking ridiculous" and I said I would deal with your "inanities, inanity by inanity" but every point you advanced was addressed directly and honestly by me and by others.

I suspect that you haven't been back because you lost the argument. You either haven't understood what it is that makes Israel stand out from other serial human rights abusers or you are being disingenuous, but after the replies you got referencing various states, their histories, laws, tribes, religions, human rights abuses, etc, to say that you were "just insulted again and again" is actually more insulting to the people who took the trouble to respond to you than anything that was said to you.

Now I can understand some people not wanting to come to terms with an initial misunderstanding but you are determined to stick with a position that was demonstrated, in great detail and several times, to be false.

By the way, in response to you asking me "Are you really telling me that Israel's human rights abuses are worse than all other nations in the world? Worse than Saudi Arabia's, China's, Iran's, Burma's?"

I said "No, I am saying that Israel's existence is predicated on its human rights abuses."

Waterloo Sunset said...

CC-

Your failure to read anything that falls outside your nationalist cheerleading is a reflection on you, as opposed to them."

of course is a direct attempt to denigrate my understanding and my ethics by suggesting I'm a mindless cheerleader who can't possibly understand your loftier, strictly intellectual moral purity. Of course no insult or belittling was intended, just the proper response to my political point of view.


I didn't say "mindless". I'm sure you have plenty of theoretical justification for your nationalism. As do the anti-imp Hamas supporters. I do think however that your nationalism does mean that you're going to be partisan. That's the nature of nationalism of any stripe. It's about supporting your 'team' first and foremost.

To say so is hardly an insult. In the same way, I'm sure you describe most forms of anti-zionism as antisemitic because that's what you believe is the political reality of their position. I'm merely doing the same.

But more to the point, since you define yourself an "internationalist" and I was speaking about anti-Zionists, I don't quite see the relevance of your links.
Because the first position you outline is clearly a muddled description of the internationalist viewpoint. I'm pointing out that your understanding of it is flawed. Because those who are against all forms of nationalism are just that. Unless you have some counterexamples of groups that actually take the stand you describe of claiming to be anti-nationalist yet supporting some forms of nationalism.

I mean, why, if you support internationalism, do you feel obliged to exonerate anti-Zionists who can see nothing wrong with Palestinian nationalism??
I don't. I merely defend the anti-nationalist position. I've previously made very clear that I don't support the anti-imp analysis. But neither do I let nationalists like you off the hook, merely because you think your form of nationalism is better.

Why are your internationalist efforts focussed on Israel/Palestine first? Why don’t Internationalists work to undo the bonds of nationalism in their own back yard?
They aren't. We do. I merely talk about Israel/Palestine in this context because that's what you're posting about. If you comment on issues that aren't related to Israel/Palestine that I feel the need to respond do, I'll happily do so. But I don't think I've ever seen you comment on anything else on here, though I accept fully I could have missed it. Actually, the vast bulk of the activism I do is around issues in England, simply for pragmatic reasons.

To turn that question back on you, why do you single out Israel for your nationalist support? Why don't you actively support the struggle for a Basque state? Or the Bretons? Or the Kurds? Or the Cornish?

ModernityBlog said...

"I suspect that you haven't been back because you lost the argument."

it is more likely that Bob found arguing with the sub-sixth form reasoning skills, at JSF, rather tedious and a waste of his valuable time, all in all you could hardly blame him.

I am surprised that he bothered in the first place.

Levi9909 said...

That's strange, Bob said, and I quote, "I [that's Bob] started entering into debate sparked by this issue at Jews sans Frontiers, but was just insulted again and again, so am probably not going to continue.

Now you say that he "found arguing with the sub-sixth form reasoning skills, at JSF, rather tedious and a waste of his valuable time"

Now, I don't know when he appointed you his spokesperson but you have contradicted what he said about the same event.

Now I'm a little anxious because I've seen some of the insults about me on here and they look far worse than anything that was levelled at Bob so perhaps he does have a different definition of the word "insult" from the one most people have so maybe he did think that my intellect or debating skills were beneath his.

But that wasn't what he actually said so, without delegating to others, perhaps Bob could clarify the situation. either at the thread he left or at this one.

nwo said...

I think the Internationalists should go after the Japanese and Saudis first.

nwo said...

Why don’t nternationalists work to undo the bonds of nationalism in their own back yard? --- Noga

That is exactly what they are doing to Western Europe and The West in General (including Israel). That is why mums the word on Japan and Saudi Arabia, etc et al.

The funny thing is, that once they are successful in breaking the West(with massive immigration), its not going to lead to a progressive world....in fact they will have destroyed the most progressive nations on earth. Turning them into balkanized war zones (like the I/P conflict) or newly minted Islamist regimes.

Regressive shit stirrers who cant leave people in peace.

They dont call it Leftwing Dystopias for nothing.

For shame!

nwo said...

That is massive immigration with non assimilationist multiculturalist policy.

Liberal Democracy, Immigration, Multiculturalism....Pick any 2.

Levi9909 said...

Contentious Centrist - You say There are two ways in which a person can be anti-Zionist and NOT be antisemitic:

1. If his anti-Zionism is just a side branch of a greater and more dominant ideology of considering all nationalist movement as inherently illegitimate.


Can you give us an example of another nationalism, just one, that anti-zionists need to be opposing in order to avoid the charge of antisemitism?

I didn't understand your point 2. But give us an example of another form of nationalism that can be compared to zionism.

Thanks

The Contentious Centrist said...

"Can you give us an example of another nationalism, just one, that anti-zionists need to be opposing in order to avoid the charge of antisemitism?"

But of course. Palestinian nationalism. If I see you pious anti Zionists apply the same time, space, passion and invective in dealing with those Palestinian nationalists that you do to Jewish ones, I might consider you less antisemitic and something more in the line of Waterloo Sunset's dream of pecfect internationalism. Though I won't support you in any of it.

Levi9909 said...

That's absurd. Palestinian nationalism does not essentially involve the idea that people from outside of Palestine have more right to live there than people that do come from there.

Palestinians are by definition the people of Palestine. Being Palestinian does not preclude being Jewish but being Jewish does preclude being Muslim, Christian or any other religion. That is there can be and there has been Palestinian nationalism that is inclusive. There is not an inclusive zionism, certainly not by any definition acceptable to the World Zionist Organisation or the State of Israel.

But of course, I was referring to forms of nationalism that are represented by statehood, not by this or that resistance movement. My comment still stands though.

Palestinian nationalism is capable of an inclusiveness that zionism (in all of its manifestations represented at the World Zionist Congress/Organisation) is incapable of.

Palestinian nationalism can be for all of the people of Palestine/Israel whereas zionism cannot be and is not.

Zionism as represented by the State of Israel and the WZO involves the idea that Jews from anywhere in the world no matter when or where they or their ancestors became Jewish are more entitled to Israel/Palestine than the native non-Jewish population. As it happens, maybe there are nationalisms like that - apartheid, loyalism, white Australianism, but there is no state constituted on that basis right now. Fascism/nazism can be and have been like that but I mean ideologies in power and enforcing their ideology now.

The Contentious Centrist said...

I prepared a 400 word response to "Levi" here but decided not to bother.

Too many lies and lurid readings of national charters and history to deal, and presumably, very tiny returns for my efforts..

Yawn.

Waterloo Sunset said...

Levi-

That's absurd. Palestinian nationalism does not essentially involve the idea that people from outside of Palestine have more right to live there than people that do come from there.

Yes it does. Even if we ignore the political character of Hamas for the purpose of this discussion (although we probably shouldn't), that's precisely what it does. Nationalism, in all its forms, accepts the concept that a common culture is shared by those within the borders of a particular nationstate. By its very nature, that means that it also sees some people as outside that culture.

It's not possible to have a "no borders" nationalism. The two are mutually exclusive.

ModernityBlog said...

Elf, you wrote:

"Now you say that he "found arguing with the sub-sixth form reasoning skills, at JSF, rather tedious and a waste of his valuable time""

er, NO, I actually wrote:

"it is more likely that Bob found arguing with the sub-sixth form reasoning skills, at JSF, rather tedious and a waste of his valuable time, all in all you could hardly blame him."

see the difference?

I assume not.

Which is why, in *my* view, no one should waste any time trying to discuss complex matters with you, when you can't even render simple sentences with any degree of clarity

shorter version, you are too thick to argue with.

nwo said...

I second Noga's assessment of Levi's last post.


Just to point out something, you will notice in his short list Levi has limited himself to bashing White European governments/policy/nationalism.

This is evidence that my reading is correct, its not anti Semitism underlying much of this Israel bashing.....its the Lefts wider anti Westernism/Nihilism, being applied.

Though certainly the criticism devolves into
anti Semitic tropes often.

Non white nationalists have been supported by Leftwingers hugely over the last 60 years. Mugabe is just one example, of hundreds. Native Americans, Abos, the entire continent of Africa, etc et al.

Levi9909 said...

Contentious Centrist - in other words, you made up the idea that Palestinian nationalism is comparable to zionism and you couldn't and can't sustain the argument.

If you really think that someone is factually wrong, if you had any integrity you would cut them a certain amount of slack by explaining what it is that they got wrong without accusing them of lying.

Funnily enough I thought you did quite well. I should have asked you to name another state like Israel but then I don't much like having my time wasted either.

Waterloo Sunset - I didn't say that there is such a thing as borderless nationalism though of course there is, but I certainly didn't say that Palestinian nationalism is one such.

There are various nationalisms that involve voluntary separatism for a particular group but within state boundaries. Bundism could be so described as could the Nation of Islam's position in both the US and UK though I remember reading that they ultimately did want some American states to be handed to African-Americans. That may well turn out to be like zionism and if it involved the forced removal of non-African-Americans I'm sure it would meet with the same opposition, as zionism does now, possibly more so.

But I simply said that Palestinian nationalism is for people defined by where they are from, ie Palestinians are people from Palestine. Zionism is specifically for people who do not by definition come from Palestine, though some do come from there, (it is not that that defines them as Jews) and it is at the expense of the non-Jews that do come from there.

I know there are manifestations of Palestinian nationalism that claim, as zionists do, that there is a dichotomy between Palestinians on the one hand and Jews on the other but the fact remains that Palestinians are by definition from Palestine. The dichotomisation of Palestinians on the one hand and Jews on the other is a false dichotomy introduced to the discourse by zionist ethnicisation (or you might say tribalisation) of the conflict.

There are people who call themselves Palestinian Jews and are accepted as such by other Palestinians but to be sure I can only think of 3 and 1 of them is no longer Jewish. Woops, I've just remembered that when Israel lit up the skies so that their ideological and military allies in the Lebanese phalange could see what they were doing while they killed getting on for 2,000 Palestinians in Shatila and Sabra, the Jewish Chronicle in the UK reported that 9 Jewish women who had fled Palestine with their Arab partners in 1948 were killed. So I suppose that makes 12 (or 11). But I'm sure there are more than just the ones I know of.

Anyway, to repeat, Jews are not defined by the country we come from and under zionist law native Jews enjoy full citizenship not because they come from there but because of their religion or the religion of their recent/immediate ancestors.

Civic nationalism, ie support for nation-statehood need not be about culture or language but what makes it civic nationalism is its defining of the nation as the people within certain boundaries (no matter how those boundaries are arrived at) as belonging to the nation. So the French are the people of France (regardless of whether they are Christians, Jews, Muslims or whatever), the Irish the people of Ireland, Ugandans the people of Uganda and so on. In fact when the Republic of Ireland was proclaimed for the whole island of Ireland, the proclamation said that the republic would cherish all of its children equally and of course Jews fought together with Protestants and Catholics against the UK. Israel cherishes only the..er.. Children of Israel as does every form of zionism represented on the WZC.

In the case of zionism, it may well believe that Jews have a superior culture or superior something but the point is that it is not for the people from within or living within certain boundaries, au contraire, it is for people with no boundaries. It certainly discriminates by force of its laws (and by force period) in favour of Jews from anywhere and against non-Jews from the area it governs. Try naming a state run on the same principles as Israel.

ModernityBlog "it is more likely that Bob found arguing with the sub-sixth form reasoning skills, at JSF, rather tedious and a waste of his valuable time, all in all you could hardly blame him."

Ah I think I see but I don't think only a thick person would have interpreted what you said the way that I did.

Since it's so important an issue to you, you might want to come back and explain some more, but Bob said that he was "just insulted again and again". I said that he lost the argument and that, in my opinion, explained why he didn't come back. You then said that it was more likely connected with my lack of intellect than my explanation but you also now say that your explanation whilst more likely than mine is less likely than his. Or that you were simply saying that you think I'm too thick to argue with. Which of course would beg the question why you made your claim by reference to Bob at all. Yes MB you've made perfect sense. Except my explanation was the more plausible and you unthinkingly leapt to Bob's defence and flatly contradicted him in the process.

Meanwhile, where is Bob?

I don't want to engage with NWO precisely because he or she openly manifests a form of nationalism comparable with zionism and that of course is white nationalism, aka, classic racism but I will point out that even a regime as nasty as Mugabe's is still not a state more for people who do not come from there than for people that do and Zimbabwe's existence is not predicated on Mugabe's current policies.

I must say that if "Noga" is either ModernityBlog or Contentious Centrist, it isn't surprising that NWO endorses their position.

But let's not run away from the original argument here. Bob came to my blog to ask why I said he is a zionist. In discussion he said that he thinks antisemitism explains most manifestations of anti-zionist activism on the left because he claims that Israel is just like any other human rights abuser (indeed better than some) or even that Israel is like any other state and that zionism is like any other state nationalism. I have challenged him to name another state and he tried several times only to have pointed out to him wherefore precisely that state (Israel) is different from all the other states extant today and subsequently I challenged Contentious Centrism to name a nationalism to see how it compares to zionism and to consider whether anti-zionists are inconsistent not to be equally opposed to that form of nationalism.

So far neither Bob nor Contentious Centrist nor ModernityBlog nor Waterloo Sunset have managed what should be a simple task if it is doable. But of course it is not. Israel is unique in that it invites Jews (and people of immediate Jewish descent) from all around the world to come and live there whilst denying that right to most of the native non-Jewish population.

Furthermore, Bob claimed that he was "just insulted again and again so am probably not going to continue". I don't think that was a fair or honest comment and I'm surprised he made it. Now I think he might find an excuse to start moderating. Now that would be rather sad because whilst he was insulted a few times, nowhere near as insulted as I have been here, his arguments were fully engaged with and he at least didn't retaliate by casting aspersions on anyone's character or capabilities in the thread. You could say that he did that in his post here but at least he linked so that people could see the argument for themselves. Hopefully I have aided that by responding here.

Now come back Bob, all is forgiven!

ModernityBlog said...

Elf,

I think Bob is far too polite to you, I am not.

It is obvious that you assume yours is the only explanation, that's how your rather slow mind works, you can't grasp what other people say/write without mangling it in the process.

But back to the point:

"Bob came to my blog to ask why I said he is a zionist."

Bob has made his position perfectly clear, he's a non-Zionist.

That's it.

So you either take him at his word, or assume that's he's arguing in bad faith, which is what you do, Elf, cos you basically can't understand his views or accept that there might be another point of view other than your own.

Short version, Elf, you are too dense to understand the concept of a non-Zionist.

Levi9909 said...

Modernity Blog - you're still presuming to act as Bob's spokesperson and I think you are misrepresenting his position (unless he's asked you to do this). I gather that he does claim to be non-zionist but he did not simply say that, so it makes no difference if I understand the concept or not.

He made a series of points which were analysed and criticised blow by blow and then some. He then came here and complained that he was "just insulted again and again" and he was not "just insulted again and again" though he was insulted but not to the extent that I have been insulted on here and there has been very little in the way of engagement with anything I have argued in spite of my factual accuracy, relevance and logical consistency.

I am saying that zionism is an ideology that holds that Jews, no matter when or where they or their ancestors became Jewish, have more right to Palestine than the native non-Jewish population and that the State of Israel is unique in that it invites and mobilises people with no known connection to the country (except via mythology/religion) to come and live there whilst denying that right to most of the non-Jewish native population and indeed reserving the right to remove the remaining non-Jewish natives if threats by Rabin, Ze'evi, Livni, Barak and Lieberman are anything to go by.

I am further saying that the reason anti-zionists lay a particular stress on denouncing Israel is because of the uniqueness that I demonstrated.

Bob tried to argue that there were several states like Israel in some way or other and he proceeded to list a few but none of them stood up to analysis. Try it yourself if you can.

But I would rather hear from Bob because I don't think the company that is representing him here is doing him or me justice.

So again I ask, where's Bob?

ModernityBlog said...

Elf, you wrote:

"you're still presuming to act as Bob's spokesperson "

as I said you are thick, thus misread what others write

I am NOT Bob's spokesperson.

I am NOT Bob's spokesperson.

finally, I am NOT Bob's spokesperson.

Is that clear enough?

But I have been following these issues for a while so I am happy to express my views on the matter.

As for your cackhanded rendition of events on JSF, you will naturally forget your first reply to Bob:

"Woops, I didn't notice you asking what makes me say that yours is the blog of a zionist. I just assumed that you are one, that's all. I can't remember why and I can't be bothered to check**...
levi9909 | Homepage | 03.31.09 - 7:20 pm"


The key phrase there:

"I can't be bothered to check"

which says it all, lazy as well as thick.

as for the rest of your spiel, it has the consistency of a juvenile mind, always right in your own estimation and ever so righteous, as I said before, sixth form reasoning.

---

** which is, if you could think about it for a moment, a minor insult.

Levi9909 said...

Modernity Blog - You are so dishonest it's ridiculous. I can never understand what makes people want to troll blogs like you're doing.

You know that what drew me to this thread was to pull Bob about his saying that he was in a discussion on my blog and he was "just insulted again and again". That was not true.

Even the comment you have lifted from the thread you appear to have followed in full you cut to make a stupid and childish point. This is Bob's first comment: What makes you say mine is "the blog of a zionist"? Where's the Zionist content?

And this is my response that you cut: I didn't say your blog has zionist content.

Woops, I didn't notice you asking what makes me say that yours is the blog of a zionist. I just assumed that you are one, that's all. I can't remember why and I can't be bothered to check. I must have a notion that you think Israel is within its rights to be a state specifically for Jews and that Jews, their immediate descendants and dependants are entitled to more right to citizenship than the native non-Jewish population. If I'm wrong by all means let me know. I'm always happy to correct. In fact that used to be my USP.


So he then said: I am not a Zionist because I am not a nationalist. I am not an anti-Zionist except insofar as I am an anti-nationalist - I am an anti-Zionist, perhaps, in the way I am "anti-" Irish nationalism, say, or "anti-" British nationalism.

I don't buy into the logic of anti-Zionism, because I see no reason to be against one nationalism and one nationalism only. Either you support the right of self-determination for nations and you support the right of national self-determination for Jews, or you oppose the right of self-determination for nations and you reject Zionism along with all other Zionisms. Anyone who defines themselves as an anti-Zionist is lopsidely obsessed with one nation. There may perhaps be good faith reasons to be lopsidedly obsessed with Israel, but these are surely outweighed by the bad faith reasons, such as antisemitism.

In response to your assumption, no, I don't support any ethnically exclusive state. Your assumption is simply wrong.

You cannot understand why anyone would object to a boycott of Israel, and particularly one that was badged "Jews are as welcome here as anyone else" with an implicit "but...", unless they are a "Zionist". However, you don't need to be a Zionist to be serious about antisemitism.

***

I am tempted, these days, to identify as a Zionist in the spirit of Hannah Arendt's dictum that "If I am attacked as a Jew, I defend myself as a Jew." Jews today are primarily attacked as Zionists, and this, and this only, tempts me to identify with Zionism. When anti-Zionists assume I am a "Zionist" because I care about antisemitism, the temptation grows.


To which I said: This "self determination for Jews" covers quite a lot of sins. Which other identity group do you support "self-determination" for? I'd like to know for comparative purposes.

I'll probably revisit the rest of your comment later.


and an anonymous commenter said:'Either you support the right of self-determination for nations and you support the right of national self-determination for Jews, or you oppose the right of self-determination for nations and you reject Zionism along with all other Zionisms'

The principled position is to support self-determination except where it violates the self-determination of other nations. From inception Zionism was contingent on achieving self-determination for Jews by denying it to Palestinians, and like other nationalisms of this type - Turkish cypriots, Afrikaner Apartheid - it draws opposition. By contrast, self-determination elsewhere in the world does not include massacre, expulsion and discrimination against non-Jews which the phrase 'self-determination for Jews' includes in the case of Zionism. To pretend that all forms of nationalism are equivalent - that the nationalism of German Nazis and the nationalism of French resistance fighters were no different - is not only an idiotic solipism, it also collapses upon the first examination. However, it's a lot easier for you to pretend that antisemitism is the reason why Zionism is opposed whereas other forms of nationalism are not.

I don't support any ethnically exclusive state.

This comment is disingenuous, to put it kindly, when your entire post consists of apologia for Zionism, and more crucially you can't recognise the distinctions between states built on ethnic exclusivity like Israel, and states which are not, like Britain and Ireland.


To which Bob then said: I think you might have misread me. I don't support national self-determination for Jews, because I don't support national self-determination for anyone. Anyone who shares a basic opposition to nationalism cannot support Jewish nationalism, but nor can they support Palestinian nationalism.

However, if you do believe in the right to national self-determination, how can you deny it to the Jews?


To which I said: Bob - look at the comment from anonymous and see that your "reasoning" is all over the place. Palestinian self-determination on the one hand and Jewish self-determination on the other is a false dichotomy in that a person can be a Palestinian Jew or a Jewish Palestinian so Palestinian self-determination can be inclusive of all the religions and ethnicities of the people of Palestine.

A Jewish state (as in the State of Israel) is a state for Jews, not all of the people. You cannot be a Jewish Christian - not in most people's estimation, including the State of Israel's anyway - and you cannot be a Jewish Muslim. You can be a Jew of any nationality no matter how hostile some nationalities have been to Jews and no matter how hostile some Jews have been to some nationalities.

A nationality is ultimately the people of a place no matter what linguistic, ethnic, tribal, cultural or whatever other differences there might be between them. Hutus and Tutses are Rwandans for example. Now we can dispute the boundaries of Rwanda but advocacy for a Hutu or a Tutse state would bring us into the ball park of zionism, not advocacy for a Palestinian state as in a state for the people of Palestine. There may even be an argument for secession but that would still be self-determination for the people of the area that secedes, not a "we are here, they are there" scenario so beloved of the zionist left.

This "if I am attacked as a Jew....." is meaningless. You mean if you are attacked in Europe you'll take it out on the Palestinians? What a strange thing to say. If you are attacked in Europe and you fight back against your attackers, that doesn't make you a zionist, far from it.

Look at the State of Israel and all of the affiliates of the World Zionist Congress, they all tend to the view that Jews have more right to at least most of Palestine than the non-Jewish native population (I'm not saying there are no native Jews, btw). I fail to see how supporting that situation is a fitting response to you being attacked as a Jew. Is that really what Hannah Arendt had in mind?

Anyway you are simply wrong in your conflation of statehood (or what you call self-determination) specifically for Jews with self-determination for all of the people of a given country, ie self-determination as applied in all other cases, which is why I asked for examples or an example. Maybe I have seen such reasoning before on your blog, I don't remember.

Oh goodness, there's more to deal with. This idea that anti-zionists are "lopsidely obsessed with one nation" is based on your false notion that zionism is a demand for self-determination like any other and that Jews are a nation like any other when the only other example that you have named is the Palestinian nation that derives its nationhood from coming from Palestine. You are wrong to equate the Palestinians with the Jews when the latter do not (as Jews anyway) derive their identity from a territory but from their religion or that of their ancestors. Even if Jews are defined as the descendants of people from Judea (which would be nigh on impossible to establish) there would still be the issue of the non-Judeans of what we now call Israel and the occupied territories. And anyway, that certainly isn't how any authority (including the State of Israel) defines Jews except when there's a bit of sound-bite politicking going on. And, as I said, Palestinians can be Jews but Christians and Muslims and people of other religions cannot be Jews. not at the same time anyway.

I think your final question has already been answered by both myself and by anonymous but here we go again. If self-determination can be actualised for a people without denying it to others then that's fine but clearly this has not been and cannot be the case with self-determination for the Jews. Self-determination for Jews has necessitated the ethnic cleansing of the Palestinian Arabs. Again, this is because Jews are not, as Jews, the people of a specific territory, so in order to establish a country as a country specifically for Jews, non-Jews have to somehow be subjugated or displaced. I think it might be your view of self-determination that is lopsided.

Apologies for repetitions, I find these little boxes hard to work with.


To which Bob said: Re anonymous:

But surely the self-determination of Palestinians is at the expense of the self-determination of Israeli Jews? (But see below.)

Re Mark:

What you are saying makes sense if we follow an extremely rigorous kind of civic nationalism, in which it is not ethnic nations who have self-determination, but only nations made up of all their citizens, whoever they are, which is a decent, highly principled position I respect. (It is implicit in some lines of the Israeli constitution, although violated in the practice of the Israeli state.)

However, it seems to me that once you follow the logic that far, you find yourself abandoning the whole idea of nations, because what meaning does a national community have if it is no more and no less than the citizens who live in a state? This is my position, basically. No borders, no states.

In my understanding, nationalism, in fact the whole idea of the nation-state, leads to the Hutus and Tutsis, to the logic of ethnic cleansing. If a state constitutes itself as a nation, there must always be a a people with whom that nation is identified - the Hindus in India, for example. And that always leads to the attempt from nationalists to expel or exterminate or assimilate out of existence any non-national peoples - the Muslims in India. We have seen this time and again in the 20th century. (I can't think of many examples of nations that have not been built on ethnic cleansing at some point in their constitution. Maybe Switzerland.)

If you take the logic of civic nationalism far enough, or go beyond it to an anti-nationalist position like mine, then Palestinian nationalism, Palestinian national self-determination must be judged the same.

I find it hard, by the way, to imagine a Palestinian nationalism that would really have a place for the Jews, just as Indian nationalism has never accommodated Muslims. There might have been a time when a binational Palestine could have emerged, but the history of Palestinian nationalism before 1948 was not particularly auspicious in this regard, any more than Zionism's history was.

And who defines who the Palestinian nation is? Who defines who belongs? Presumably the Palestinians. But, then, if Jews consider themselves a nation, who says they're not? What are the standards of definition, and which "nations" have the right to employ these standards? You define the Palestinian nation as able to include Christians and Jews, but what if the Palestinian national movement decided only a Muslim could really be a Palestinian (and that is not a view too far from the reality of Hamas and Islamic Jihad, even if their rhetoric is ambivalent)?

Also, the notion of nativism implicit in everything you say. If we only give national rights to the "native", how do we decide who is native? How far back does it have to go? Do we need to remove all non-Native Americans from the US and Canada, all whites from Australia, all the people of Pakistani/Bangladeshi/Polish/etc origin from Britain? If the Jews lose their nativity in Palestine by virtue of being in exile for so long, when do the Palestinian refugees lose it? And where do the Jews go, who are not native anywhere? Or the Roma for that matter?

Finally, a note of agreement: I find the little boxes hard too!


Now you see. No complaint of thickness or laziness on my part. Oh yes, you were just speaking for yourself. But you were coming on as if to speak for Bob and you were protecting him because he was defending Israel and zionism and I was criticising both. It's extraordinary that a non-zionist would put so much effort into defending Israel.

But anywhere this is where the insults start, unless you count Bob insulting people's intelligence.

Me: bob - my immediate thought having only just seen your comment, is "this is fucking ridiculous". Now I'm going to read it.

And here's anonymous: Bob, It's obvious you're unable to defend your claims from any serious scrutiny. As such, there's a limit to how much time i'll spend on responding to your inanities. However, 'Palestinian self-determination is at the expense of the self-determination of Israeli Jews' only if you believe massacre, expulsion, discrimination and dispossession as practised by Zionism to be integral parts of self-determination, as it is clear from your comments that you do, although few other interpretations of 'self-determination' include a right to oppress other national groups. By the same token, the self-determination of black south africans violated the self-determination of white afrikaners by demanding equal rights. Only be regarding all forms of self-determination as moral equivalents - in this case the right of the existing inhabitants of the land to determine the future of that country and the 'right' of an incoming group to dispossess the existing inhabitants - does your position not look like the threadbare excuse it is. As I stated in my earlier response, it is the nature of the 'self-determination' and the nationalism in each case - whether it is racist or anti-racist, inclusionary or exclusionary - that determines whether it is entitled to support. Retreating into a belief that all nationalisms, and all states are identical is flatly contradicted by the reality that states which instituionally discriminate between different ethno-religious groups are in a distinct minority. Britain is not a 'British state' in which non-whites are treated inferior by law, and neither are most states of the world currently in existance.

And here's another insult by me: Thank you anon. Between other chores I've been trying to deal with the inanities inanity by inanity. But could you not give yourself a simple name or a letter or number?

And here's me again: Ok Bob, I've read it and I stand by my original assertion but I'll try to go blow by blow.

The principle of civic nationalism is violated in the whole principle and practice of zionism as preached and practiced by the State of Israel and the World Zionist Organisation. There is a little bit of lip service here and there to the equal rights of non-Jews with Jews but the fact remains that Israel is uniquely a state for people most of whom do not come from there and at the expense of the people that do. It is also a state for people whose identity is not based on the territory that they are from but, as I said before, their religion or that of their ancestors.

There is nothing extreme about the idea that a state should be for its people, that is the principle with most, almost all, states and for states in waiting or wannabe states like say the SNP.

To invoke societies where there have been tribal or communalist disorders and oppression changes nothing.
I'm not sure what your point is about Rwanda unless you are saying that so long as there are states there will be attempts at genocide to ensure that one ethnicity, tribe or religion dominates but the principle remains that Rwanda is a state for Rwandans. And no one from elsewhere has more right to live there than people who are from there.

You mention India and the rights (or lack of) of Muslims but Hindus do not have more right to live there than Muslims and they do not have more rights under the law. There are hundreds of millions of Muslims living in India and many millions of Hindus who do not and because of the passage of time many Hindus (African Asians et al) may well find that they don't actually have a right of return unless they can establish that their personal ancestry is from there and that they have maintained a tangible connection with the country.

Those who fled their homes when India and Pakistan were being established should have the right of return and under international law they do. But what makes Indians Indians and Pakistanis Pakistanis is the fact that they are from there and what gives them their rights there is simply that they are there. If others come and join them that shouldn't be a problem as long as the later arrivals don't try to displace wholesale the people who are there already as the zionists did to the Palestinian natives.

Nationhood is a territorial concept and if it is said that it is not then we have to distinguish between non-territorial nations - Roma, Jews, etc, and territorial ones, French, Rwandan, Indian.

Saying that the natives have a perfect right to remain in their own country or to return is not "nativism". Nativism is where natives or the native born are preferred over immigrants under policies that directly affect both. Resistance to conquest and resistance to displacement shouldn't be confused with xenophobia. Indeed it is a rather disingenuous attempt at projection to do so.

Nothing I have said suggests the removal of anyone from anywhere. That's just it. In order for there to be a state specifically for Jews people did have to and do have to be removed from there. The ethnic cleansing of the Palestinian non-Jewish natives has never really ended and it can't end precisely because Israel, according to itself, will never be a state for its people. No one will ever become Jewish because they come from Israel. And there will always be Jews from elsewhere.

Regarding Palestinian nationalism, I find it deeply disturbing that so many people have this blind spot over the impact of imperialism on Arabs and Muslims, in particular the Palestinians. I know the various zionist sites and the pro-war enthusiasts avoid overt essentialism (as a rule) but this constant invoking of this statement or that riot or even a massacre, as if this says it all about the Palestinians, ignoring completely the behaviours and declarations of zionists is essentialist, indeed it's racist. It also of course ignores what it was that the zionists were intent on achieving from the 1890s, possibly the 1880s onwards.

We don't know how Palestine and the Palestinians would have developed were the country not set up specifically for zionist colonisation but we do know that the various communities got on mostly fine until the advent of zionist colonisation and even if they didn't this does not justify the ethnic cleansing of the Palestinians by the zionists but there is no suggestion that there would have been any animosity towards Jews by the Muslim and Christian communities of Palestine if it wasn't for zionist colonisation.

You ask who it's up to to decide who is the nation but the principle is simple enough and it isn't up to anyone to interfere with it or change its terms. The only Brits who would say that I'm not one on account of my being Jewish are nazis or zionists of course, though the latter seem to be happy enough these days with equal rights for Jews in the west but superior rights (aka privileges) for Jews in Israel. But the people of the place are the nation regardless of how any nationalistic movement sees things.

How and why boundaries are set is another issue but shouldn't be too much of a one if all of the people within the boundary are subject to equal treatment and the boundaries do not inflict unjust hardship on the people on one side or the other. This is clearly not the case in Israel because Israel has taken it upon itself to define the Jews of the world as the nation that is represented by the state. There is no other state that is organised on that basis though there have been in the past and in each case there is still resentment and horror expressed over what happened when you look at the likes of America and Australia for example.

It is not a question of Jews in Israel simply getting better treatment than others, though they do, but via the WZO and on account of how Israel defines itself and the world's Jews, Jews can participate in the governance of Israel without even being there. And of course most of the natives are banned from there. I don't think any other country has an equivalent organisation to the WZO.

And whatever Hamas has to say about who is Palestinian or about anything else is largely irrelevant given the context of how Israel is currently treating the Palestinians. Hamas did not exist until the 1980s and didn't become militant until the first intifada. Again, who knows what they might stand for if Israel ended its relentless aggression towards the natives and neighbours of Palestine and negotiated in good faith?

When the sole legitimate representative of the Palestinians was the PLO with a demand at first for a democratic secular state and later for a two state solution, Israel still had the same policies, ideology, structure and behaviours. Perhaps you're too young to remember the Lebanon invasions of 78 and 82.

So anyway, your examples don't stack up. Indians are defined not by their religion but by where they are from and where they are and India is the state for them all regardless of their religion and it is certainly not specifically for people with a non-territorial identity and scattered all over the world with only tribal mythology to link them.

Rwanda too is not for one tribe only and when that was attempted, appalling atrocities followed and pursuit and punishment followed that.

Pick any example you want to and Israel will stand out as a state more for people who don't come from there than for people that do. And it will stand out as a state that mobilises people with no connection to the country to come and live there whilst denying that right to people who come from there. That is wrong in principle and even worse in practice.

There is no question about how far we take this back, the people of a place have the right to live in that place and anyone should have the right to join with them.

It's a strange thing that you declare yourself to be against nationalism and yet you are so protective of Israel in the face of its critics. You claim that this is because Israel is singled out and yet Israel singles itself out and is singled out for preferential treatment by the west. No serial human rights abuser gets as much favour from the west as Israel does and no serial human rights abuser has as many apologists in the media and in government and in "opposition". If you're truly concerned about singling out how come you're not concerned about that?


And then me correcting a mistake I made: woops - apparently there's a mere 154,000,000 muslims in India. That's according to wikipedia.

And back came Bob, I'm going comment by comment but I think that may have been his last: Words like "inanities inanity by inanity" and "fucking ridiculous" are not conducive to encouraging me to seriously respond, when all I have tried to do here is enter into debate. So I am not going to try and respond at any length, although I might return and do so when I have more time. However, I think you are missing my points, either willfully or because I am expressing them poorly.

I am not sure if you are saying there is such a thing as a "non-territorial nation"? If the nation is purely territorial, can there be non-territorial nations? Myself, I think the many, many logical problems in defining nations can only lead us to abandon the whole idea of nationhood and national self-determination.

Israel is far from unique in being an ethnic nation, even if it is an extreme case. Germany, for example, extends citizenship to ethnic Germans from points East, while denying it to the German-born children of migrants.

Even if most nations do not formally constitutionally distinguish between ethnic nationals and non-ethnic nationals, the myth of the native has this effect. I presume that, like me, you shuddered a little at Gordon Brown's "British jobs for British workers". If so, this was not because it privileged citizens over non-citizens, but because the words contain the shadow of exclusion based on race. Similarly, but more brutally, while Muslims may have the same formal rights to citizenship in India as Hindus, the fact of Partition, and the creation of India as a Hindu state and Pakistan as a Muslim state meant that Muslims will always be the non-national people in India, will never truly belong. This is the logic inherent in nationalism, of which Rwanda and the Balkans are only (some of) the most extreme cases. Again, I don't think I can think of any single nation that has not had ethnic cleansing as part of its formation, with the possible exception of Switzerland, a land which is not particularly hospitable to migrants.

I do not single out Israel for defence or apology. I perhaps single out the opponents of Jewish national self-determination for the lopsidedness of their logic. Are you really telling me that Israel's human rights abuses are worse than all other nations in the world? Worse than Saudi Arabia's, China's, Iran's, Burma's?


To which I replied, I know I've already said but I think you're trolling is to stop people from reading what I said: "Words like "inanities inanity by inanity" and "fucking ridiculous" are not conducive to encouraging me to seriously respond," [my emphasis]

What was your excuse before? I'll have to look at the rest of your comment later.
And then anonymous slips back in with: Bob - you admit that Muslims and Hindus in Inidia enjoy the same rights as citizens; this is precisely the quality which distinguishes Israel from other states, in that Jews and non-Jews do not have the same right, and the structure of Israel as a 'Jewish state' is founded on this differential treatment. India is not a 'hindu state' which reserves 92% of it's land surface for Hindu-only use. Your arguments would stand up if all states were identical in structure to Israel, and all nationalisms led to the same massacre, expulsion and discrimination that Zionism perpetrated. However, they aren't, and they haven't.

And I said: I do not single out Israel for defence or apology.

Yes you do.

I perhaps single out the opponents of Jewish national self-determination for the lopsidedness of their logic.

That's because you have either not understood the logic or you pretend not to. It is not lopsided, it is the same that was applied to South Africa under apartheid, Rhodesia under white minority rule, Australia under the White Australia policy, America's segregationism and Northern Ireland under Orange/Loyalist rule. In those cases the problems of racist/sectarian rule have been dealt with, with the possible exception of Ireland but no part of Ireland constitutionally enshrines the superiority of any community from abroad over the existing or native population. That's not to say they have no other problems.

Are you really telling me that Israel's human rights abuses are worse than all other nations in the world? Worse than Saudi Arabia's, China's, Iran's, Burma's?

No, I am saying that Israel's existence is predicated on its human rights abuses.

Other things being equal the other states could still exist as Saudi, China, Iran and Burma without the human rights abuses that their current governments commit. Israel insists that without the denial of the basic human right of return to ones homeland it could not or would not exist and that is the one thing that finds me in complete agreement with Israel. It is not the quantity of Israel's human rights abuses that counts it is the quality.

None of the states you have named owe their existence to the purging of the territory under their control of people native to that territory, certainly not in our generations. That they may have done that in the past is not the basis for their existence now. It is in Israel's case and only in Israel's case. Remember we're talking about now and not one, two or five hundred years ago. And none of the peoples that the states claim to and do represent come from all around the world with settlement and other rights superior to those who have been expelled or who live there already but do not fit the ethno-religious, or in old fashioned language, racial, criteria.

The term "ethnic German" simply means that a person is from Germany. Under German law there are no non-Germans from Germany vis a vis "ethnic Germans". Even if Germany allowed for example Russian Germans to come and live there, no community from Germany would suffer an infringement of their basic right to exist in or return to their homeland on account of that. Under Israeli law there are many non-Jews from and in what we now call Israel but it is Jews that have the right to full citizenship, not non-Jews. There is no such thing as a non-German from Germany who suffers the loss of rights that are enjoyed by "ethnic Germans" from elsewhere in the world. Germany is a state for all of its people whether they are described as "ethnic Germans" or not. In the case of Israel, it is only Jews that the state claims to represent. That means a permanent state of constitutionally enshrined discrimination; indeed it means a permanent state of population transfer where Jews are invited in and Arabs are pressured or otherwise pushed out.

Except to complain at being accused of "inanities" and of being "fucking ridiculous" your last comment was simply a restatement by other (mercifully less) words than your previous comment.

Now I could assume that you're stupid and that you don't know what you're talking about or I could assume that you're a zionist, one who believes that it's only right and proper, the norm, for Jews from anywhere in the world to have more right to and more rights in Palestine than the native non-Jewish Palestinian mostly Arab population. Going back to your original question, it is that that made me assume that you are a zionist.

Also, you would rather accuse Israel's critics of antisemitism (which used to be a serious charge) than consider in all seriousness what it is exactly that people are criticising. That isn't zionism of itself but it is something zionists are very fond of doing.

The anti-zionist position is that it is wrong for a state to exist on the basis of colonial settlement, ethnic cleansing and racist laws. No other state in the world is actively inviting and mobilising people to come and live there whilst denying the right to live there to people that really come from there, not Germany, not Saudi, not Burma, not Iran, nowhere, only Israel.

I should allow for sincerity or good faith on your part but the mainstream media is replete with your kind of argument and it can't all stem from honest ignorance. I may have made a wrong assumption in calling you a zionist but you have said nothing to make me believe that I was wrong.

It is possible that you have a serious blind spot for Israel and zionism but that kind of thing should be exposed and confronted. But with most people that argue that Israel is just like any other common or garden human rights abuser and then spend more time attacking Israel's critics than they do attacking any other human rights abusers, except those they consider to be Israel's enemies, they seem to simply want to get Israel off the hook and let it continue what it is doing to the Palestinians and has been doing all these decades with cover from the most powerful states on the planet including their governments, their "oppositions" and their mainstream media.

Really Bob, when you consider the principles involved, it is Israel's apologists that are lopsided and singling Israel out, not Israel's critics.


No evidence of laziness, illogic, dishonesty and not that much evidence of insults aimed at Bob, certainly nothing like I have had to put up with here.

Really I think Bob has got a serious blindspot where Israel is concerned and it leads him to malign Israel's critics. But I do wish he would respond.

The Contentious Centrist said...

That's a 5650 word comment. It looks like Levi is trying to invade and colonize Bob's space. It's abusing Bob's hospitality. My free-of-charge advice to Bob: do not feed the troll.

ModernityBlog said...

Elf,

Why bother to cut and paste that whole ream into this thread?

if readers had wanted to see it they simply could have followed Bob's link.

the problem is, you can't recognize when YOU are insulting someone else, that is because such an attitude is second nature to you, thus you can't accept or acknowledge Bob's points.

nwo said...

"(NWO)manifests a form of nationalism comparable with zionism and that of course is white nationalism, aka, classic racism --- Levi


Villification and demonization of White European Christian Conservative Liberals....

Say it isnt so!

nwo said...

The thing is that Western Cultural Groups are the most progressive on the planet who treat their minority populatioins better than anybody. Yet this fellow Levi wants to blast them as racists, when in fact they are the least racist populations on the planet.

This is the double standard, which is in fact anti Western bigotry. Jews in Israel are just a manefestation of the same anti Western bigotry.

The Western Left is plagued with this cowardly foolishness. If you really want to march against racism and bigotry, march on Muslim majority nations, China, Japan, a host of African nations...etc. The last regional cultural group you should be worried about is the White Europeans.

Pull your head out your ass.

nwo said...

The nations in most need of reform from their racist and bigoted ways, get nary a peep out of Levi, and the countries that are the most progressive and least racist....recieve the vast majority of Levis passionate criticism.

This is what marks you out, as having a bad faith position, Levi.


I make no bones about my group identity and affection for it. One can be pro Western Peoples and Culture without supporting racist supremacist laws designed to keep minorities down, or wishing other groups ill. This is the Classically Liberal Christian position. That doesnt mean that you are duty bound to import foreigners and make yourself a minority in your own land, or else you fail some moral test.

Levi9909 said...

Contentious Centrist I am merely refuting lies told about me. All you and Modernity Blog have offered is abuse. Modernity Blog even tried to make out that I was concealing what was actually said at my blog.

You say that I am a troll on account of the number of words I pasted. That is an absurd way to judge an argument. You judge it on its merits not its length unless it is a time constrained debate or a word limited essay. It's almost as if you can't make a case. Oh yes, I forgot, you can't make a case.

That's trolling.

It's interesting that you don't have a problem with the overt racism of nwo and his "hands off the BNP" request. But then he uses less words to support the White Christian European etc working class. But then I don't think it's that that makes you so much more tolerant of his comments.

But I have already said that I think Bob will find an excuse to avoid answering my points here just as he made up an excuse to not answer them at my blog. It's just the excuse didn't wash. The question is how brazen is Bob?

Modernity Blog the problem is, you can't recognize when YOU are insulting someone else, that is because such an attitude is second nature to you, thus you can't accept or acknowledge Bob's points.

No Modernity Blog, you are still being dishonest. I did acknowledge that I did indeed insult Bob by calling his comments "fucking ridiculous" and "inanities" and those were the only insults he complained of. He did not say that the arguments about Israel or about other states were insulting to him or he would have said that after his first lengthy comment had been addressed point by point and by at least two people.

The substantive points that were made and expanded on after that had already been made in shorter form prior to that but he didn't complain and he barely complained of what the anonymous commenter said at all though clearly he tried to engage and argue with the points.

He just couldn't get away with arguing, for example and among other things, that India is a state for the world's Hindus in the same way that Israel is a state for the world's Jews. And that's without getting into the fact that he tried to get away with claiming that Germany discriminates in favour of something called "ethnic Germans" from places other than Germany and with no known or demonstrable ancestry from Germany and at the expense of large numbers or any numbers of people who are from Germany with ancestry from Germany but who might be considered to be non-German by the German state. Though such may have been the case, indeed it was the case with nazi Germany.

He argued these points and was argued against several times and in great detail both before and after complaining about the "fucking ridiculous" and "inanities" comments. It cannot have been points other than those that he was complaining of and it is downright dishonest to say so.

There is no question of his arguments or his objections being misunderstood. He has been dishonest in claiming that he was "just insulted again and again". He appears to have a blind spot about Israel which is sad because he does seem like a rather pleasant chap. You do not. You seem to be very unpleasant and you have been nothing but insulting whenever my name has been mentioned or whenever it has appeared.

The reason I copied and pasted the thread in was to show that you were lying when you tried to support the idea that a) all Bob did was claim to be non-zionist and b) all that happened was he was "just insulted again and again". I have been insulted again and again here, he wasn't just insulted there.

So, true, he was insulted and that was acknowledged but it is untrue, as you know, to say that this is all that happened to him. It is also untrue to say that all he said was that he was a non-zionist.

Another reason to post in the whole thread is that there was a comment earlier in this thread by "A" that was sympathetic to my position and not to Bob's. Here it is: I don't know what kind of insults were aimed at you, but it does prompt the thought that, given that you are part of the brigade that brands anti-Zionists as inherently antisemitic, and fails to see how insulting that is, my sympathy is limited.

The thing is, even though this person doesn't support Bob's position in assuming antisemitism on the part of all or most anti-zionists he or she seems not to have read the thread so they might believe what Bob said about having been "just insulted again and again" and then assumed that he deserved it and I don't want people believing that because it is important that we make the case against Israel and don't just denounce zionists as lazy, liars, unintelligent, fucking ridiculous, inane, etc. We mustn't stoop to their/your low level.

Of course we should refrain from insults and not let ourselves get exasperated by dubious argumentation or hasbara tactics but we should be mindful that there may be uncommitted people reading the thread.

It's curious that I am the only one to have taken exception to nwo though of course, Bob may be away or something.

Still, if Contentious Centrist and Modernity Blog stop misrepresenting arguments and trying to close down debate I'll stop coming. I really want Bob to answer for what was an untrue and unfair comment by him. He might value MB and CC's interventions but it doesn't say much for him if he does.

Here's the link where I referred to Bob as a zionist.

And here are the comments
from the top and here is Bob's first entrance to the discussion.

What happened was he described himself as non-zionist and without too much prompting went into quite a lot of detail to explain his position. Most of the detail was of the standard you will find on many a hasbara site which kind of confirmed me in my suspicion that Bob is indeed a zionist and not because he is concerned about antisemitism but because his defence of Israel involves some very dubious formulations.

But I fear Contentious Centrist's and Modernity Blog's own disingenuous and insulting contributions may well have painted Bob into a corner here. The question now is, will he come out?

It's just occurred to me that Bob may have meant that he was in a debate at Jews sans frontieres and that he got insulted and didn't like it but then he has certainly allowed people to be insulting to other people in other threads.

Still maybe I could assume that he didn't mean to create the impression that he was just insulted because he did after all provide a link to the thread. If that's the case then I think he should get over it and get back into the debate or concede the points that he got wrong. Remember there is more to it than saying that he is non-zionist. He also claimed wrongly that Israel had a similar ethos and structure to India and Germany. And perhaps most importantly, having decided that there is nothing signigicantly and uniquely wrong with Israel he then moves to the assumption that disproportionate condemnation of Israel is antisemitic. He must think the debate is important or he would be saying that it isn't important if people are falsely accused of antisemitism.

So Bob, ignore the trolls like CC and MB and I think you're well within your rights to delete nwo who seems to be on a BNP recruitment drive, and deal with these very important points, please.

Thank you

ps mazel tov on your chart busting thread!

The Contentious Centrist said...

"It's interesting that you don't have a problem with the overt racism of nwo "

Overt racism has a certain honesty about it, wouldn't you say? Unlike your kind of racism which you try to pass off as concern for human rights. Nothing is more disgusting than dressing up your prejudices in humanitarian garb. You are a hungry lion, subversive, hiding among the tall grass, waiting for an easy prey and therefore, dangerous to others, as far as hungry lions go. Visible lions are safe.

Perhaps if you were a bit more honest with yourself, and others, balance some actual verifiable knowledge and sound principles with that blind seething anger, you might eventually get to NWO's level of respectability, eh? What say you, "Levi"?

Levi9909 said...

Contentious Centrist - What I say, CC, is that with this whole thread you and MB have only pretended at generalised abstractions without pointing to one thing that I have said that is actually factually wrong, intellectual inferior, politically remarkable, deliberately dishonest or overtly or even covertly racist.

I am saying that you and MB are deliberately dishonest but that is obvious to a casual observer but neither of you can be accused of overt racism because unlike NWO you haven't actually made any substantive points and you have said nothing specific to address any of my many points.

David L said...

I read the reference to this debate over at the JSF blog. With some trepidation, knowing that I too will be blasted for my ignorance, racism and indeed self-hatred probably, here's my two cents on what I think the nub of the issue is.

Bob wrote: "I perhaps single out the opponents of Jewish national self-determination for the lopsidedness of their logic. Are you really telling me that Israel's human rights abuses are worse than all other nations in the world? Worse than Saudi Arabia's, China's, Iran's, Burma's?"

This is the attitude that, I believe, Jacqueline Rose referred to when she said, 'Why is Israel the only country that we cannot condemn without condemning all other countries first?' In other words Israel is being singled out, but by its defenders. (Or rather by the people who know they can't actually defend its actions so attack those who condemn it.)

The odd thing is that I know quite a lot of folks involved in say, the free Tibet campaign, or campaigns against fgm, or exposing the abuses in Colombia. None of them have a problem with me 'singling out' Israel. Just as I don't have a problem with them singling out their country or issue.

Without wanting to make it too personal I wonder if those shouting about ignoring China's human rights record have done anything about it? My guess is they haven't; it seems those active in such campaigns believe in a different type of internationalism than the one evident on this blog, which seems to be 'if you can't do something about everything, you're racist if you try and do something about anything'.

richard said...

Just wanted to say that I skimmed the comments on Jews sans frontieres and was well impressed by Bob's attitude. I didn't expect Levi to be here. But, just for the record chum, you lost any respect I might have had for your arguments by your intemperate language. I'm not Jewish by the way, I'm a believer in the One who came back this day (to be more precise, I believe we remember a real event in history today). I'm not a Christian Zionist, I don't believe the scriptures are to be used that way. But as a humanitarian and resident of Lewisham this Cafe Crema story really got me thinking. Again, respect to Bob, when he's back.

Margaret said...

What a heroic effort, Mark!

Unfortunately, for those who either read from their hasbara phrase book or revert to argumentum ad hominen, (refusing to respond to the argument made and instead attacking the speaker, as Mark points out you do each time a substantive issue is presented) concepts obviously are too advanced to expect from the inhabitants of this milieu. One cannot expect thoughtful responses from minds too unformed to recognize the strict limits set by those who train them.

Enjoy your games of tag-teaming and abuse, children, even responding in such a way does make you ever weaker.

On the other hand, you could look up the words Arendt uses, so the time spent looking at the pages in the book is productive.

Margaret said...

nwo - labeling always adds so much to a conversation, doesn't it?

Waterloo Sunset said...

Levi-

(I've trimmed your post to try and keep the length at least vaguely manageable. Let me know if you think any of the parts I've removed were crucial to your argument)

There are various nationalisms that involve voluntary separatism for a particular group but within state boundaries.

I'd query whether the examples you give are nationalism. Certainly, we can (and should) critically examine the political wisdom of separatism. But nationalism/national self-determination is closely linked to the concept of the nationstate.

But I simply said that Palestinian nationalism is for people defined by where they are from, ie Palestinians are people from Palestine.

From that, I take it you accept my position that nationalism is, by its nature, exclusive of some people? On top of that, it's clear from your description here that it is an ideology entirely alien to any kind of class analysis. Palestinian nationalism is for all people from Palestine. It matters not whether they're from the proletariat or the bourgeoise. Hence, to quote Luxemburg "the famous 'right of self-determination of nations' is nothing but hollow, bourgeois phraseology and humbug".

There are people who call themselves Palestinian Jews and are accepted as such by other Palestinians but to be sure I can only think of 3 and 1 of them is no longer Jewish. Woops, I've just remembered that when Israel lit up the skies so that their ideological and military allies in the Lebanese phalange could see what they were doing while they killed getting on for 2,000 Palestinians in Shatila and Sabra, the Jewish Chronicle in the UK reported that 9 Jewish women who had fled Palestine with their Arab partners in 1948 were killed. So I suppose that makes 12 (or 11). But I'm sure there are more than just the ones I know of.

Is there more substance to this then "capitalist states commit atrocious acts"? Which isn't a stance I'd take issue with, obviously. I merely fail to understand why it means I should ally with one faction of the bourgeoise against another.

My personal view is this shows that Maoism has been much more influential on the left then many realise, included those so influenced. Specifically, the "anti-imperalist" analysis strikes me as a modern reinvention of the Maoists' fetishisation of 'third world' struggles as the means to a revolution.

Civic nationalism, ie support for nation-statehood need not be about culture or language but what makes it civic nationalism is its defining of the nation as the people within certain boundaries (no matter how those boundaries are arrived at) as belonging to the nation.

Civic-nationalism assumes there's a shared culture based on nationality, not language or ethnicity. It's still an utterly bourgeouise ideology and should be opposed on that basis.

It certainly discriminates by force of its laws (and by force period) in favour of Jews from anywhere and against non-Jews from the area it governs. Try naming a state run on the same principles as Israel.

All states discriminate, through law, against non members of that state. Hence we have immigration laws. The difference between us is that you seem to draw a clear line between different kinds of state discrimination, whereas I see them all as equally worth opposing.

Anonymous said...

Modernity:

"If you search some of the JSF threads discussing the Holocaust or WW2 you will probably see what I mean."

can you elaborate a bit?

Evildoer said...

All states discriminate, through law, against non members of that state. Hence we have immigration laws. The difference between us is that you seem to draw a clear line between different kinds of state discrimination, whereas I see them all as equally worth opposing.

Waterloo.

I am Jewish, Israeli citizen, anti-Zionist and socialist. Now, assuming you are honest about your internationalist revolutionary creed, I expect you to support my struggle against my state and the particular brand of “bourgeois nationalism” that rules it, Zionism. I agree with Levy that Israeli discrimination is worse than the discrimination against immigrants in Western states, a lot worse. I confess that I cannot see how a person both informed and honest can fail to see the difference in orders of magnitude between the oppression of Palestinians under Zionism and the oppression of immigrants in neo-liberal bourgeois Britain. Perhaps as an internationalist you need to travel some more and speak to people. However, that hardly matters. I expect you to support me even if you disagree with me about how bad Zionism is. Just as an internationalist, you have the right to expect my support for your struggle, if you do struggle (beyond theoretical arguments), against the British state, and you’d have a right to expect that this support not be conditional on my complete agreement with all points of your analysis. It seems instead that you do not support me. Why?

I believe Palestinians have an even greater expectation that you be supporting their struggle against oppression at the hand of the bourgeois state. You could of course tell them that your support does not imply political unity, and that at some point you may part ways. But as long as Palestinians earn 5% of the average Jewish wage in the territory and 50% inside the Green Line, there is no revolutionary justification for you not offering them the solidarity they demand, for example by boycotting Israeli goods, pressuring your government, etc., even if you do not fully agree with their exact blueprint for the future. The fact that there is correlation among Britain’s political class between support for Israel and support for internal repression is another reason for you to lend this support. If you’d rather spend your time explaining why the Palestinian struggle should not be supported because it is “nationalistic”, you are of course making a political decision, and one that belies your political self-representation.

Anarchists against the Wall, as anarchists, certainly oppose states in principle. Yet every week they go and participate in protests against the wall, clashing with specifically Israeli soldiers who represent the state of Israel. Now Mahmoud Abbas, the head of the PA, is a bourgeois nationalist of sort. His goons are quite brutal and repressive. Yet Anarchists Against the Wall never go to Ramallah to clash with them. This is not lack of balance or failure to see the problem with nationalism. It is the practical understanding that political struggle takes place in a predetermined and differentiated terrain, and requires making choices and establishing priorities based on analysis of the relations of forces and the identities they shape in any given moment. “Everybody sucks” is not a revolutionary slogan. It is an invitation to sulk rather to struggle.

So please explain to me how exactly do you fight against all states and why do you not support those who struggle against the state of Israel.

nwo said...

Margaret, straight talk does add to the discussion. Try using it.

For the record, the mainstream Western Left is much much more racist, sexist, ethnicist, religionist than I as a Western Christian Conservative.

That I appreciate some cultures more than others, isnt a sign of nefariousness or moral failure.

I appreciate the Israeli Jewish culture of technological development, learning, creativity, and productivity more than the Palestinian Culture of Death. Sue me.

nwo said...

NWO's level of respectability?


I dont see where acknowledging ones affinity for ones own culture, while promoting a system where other cultures can thrive, while criticizing the most human rights abusing cultures/nations, and being able to appreciate other cultures in areas is not respectable in anyway shape or form.

Recognizing that Western Nations (including Israel given some peace) are much more progressive. Even though Israel has been under attack and military threat since its inception, it still is more progressive and preferable to the rabble around it. Or would you prefer to see a real genocide and a failed state or new Islamist government....or even worse a triple combo.

Good Lord!

The Contentious Centrist said...

This thread is beginning to bear an uncanny resemblance to the Mos Eisley cantina scene.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0YSF5SfqF2o

The Contentious Centrist said...

"Good Lord!"

Jews-are-working-to-undermine- Western-civilization NWO is dumbfounded.

You know I'm not impressed by your avowals on Israel or Jews. You see them as a means to an end, just like like Levi and evildoer here support the Palestinians because the cause temporarily fits their ideological politics.

If Israel should come to a bad end, you will enjoy the sight, telling your Jewish compatriots: Toldja! As if it were their well-deserved reward, somehow, for not voting for the Republican party in greater numbers.

Obi wan Ke-nwo-bi said...

Waterloo Sunset said: My personal view is this shows that Maoism has been much more influential on the left then many realise, included those so influenced. Specifically, the "anti-imperalist" analysis strikes me as a modern reinvention of the Maoists' fetishisation of 'third world' struggles as the means to a revolution.

END QUOTE


Yes, this is the Anti Western mindset that pervades the Western Left. And its a regressive abomination.

Obi wan Ke-nwo-bi said...

I understand that you are skeptical of my support for Israel.

My support for Israel is similar to my support for Great Britain. An ally with whom I might not always agree, but for whom I hold a high regard for including its culture and people, none the less.

There is nothing to be skeptical about really.

I have serious US domestic political disagreements with the vast majority oo American Jews...but we also have much common ground.

Margaret said...

I'm sorry I interrupted your conversation, NWO. The JSF conversation was interrupted a couple of days ago by BobFromBrockley. Mark wanted to finish his conversation with Bob. ModernityBlog and The Contentious Centrist both are well-known for their ill-natured gaming and I came to cover his back so he could do so. Unfortunately, it appears Bob doesn't enjoy the unpleasant duo either - or perhaps he simply is busy elsewhere.

When a conversation consists mostly of labels, time must be spent finding out what is meant by each label before meaningful discussion can begin. If instead the ideas represented by the labels are the content of a conversation, I am more easily able to make sense of what is being said. You and I seem to differ in significant respects in our perspectives, but most of the issues which you indicate are important to you are not what occupy my attention.

I think you were talking with Waterloo Sunset and, again, I apologize for interrupting. If you are interested in discussing gardening, let me know - I'll check back.

Evildoer said...

just like like Levi and evildoer here support the Palestinians because the cause temporarily fits their ideological politics.

Let me guess. Your sympathies are non political and non ideological. You merely support what is naturally right "sub specie aeternitatis".

Waterloo Sunset said...

Evildoer-

I am Jewish, Israeli citizen, anti-Zionist and socialist. Now, assuming you are honest about your internationalist revolutionary creed, I expect you to support my struggle against my state and the particular brand of “bourgeois nationalism” that rules it, Zionism.

There is no 'automatic' support for any group or individual fighting against a state, despite my opposition to states. To take an extreme example, surely neither of us would have supported the Iron Guard in their struggle against the Romanian state?

I expect you to support me even if you disagree with me about how bad Zionism is. Just as an internationalist, you have the right to expect my support for your struggle, if you do struggle (beyond theoretical arguments), against the British state, and you’d have a right to expect that this support not be conditional on my complete agreement with all points of your analysis.

See above. As it happens, I do support struggles within Israel by those groups I think are worthwhile. It's not a matter of having to agree with every single point of their analysis. It is, however, conditional on them taking a class analysis as opposed to a nationalist one. I make no apologies for that. By your logic I should support the Kahanists if they come into conflict with the Israeli state.

It seems instead that you do not support me. Why?

I don't know if I do or not. I don't know enough about your politics.

I believe Palestinians have an even greater expectation that you be supporting their struggle against oppression at the hand of the bourgeois state. YBut as long as Palestinians earn 5% of the average Jewish wage in the territory and 50% inside the Green Line, there is no revolutionary justification for you not offering them the solidarity they demand, for example by boycotting Israeli goods, pressuring your government, etc., even if you do not fully agree with their exact blueprint for the future.
Define support and define solidarity. Apart from anything else, I don't see any evidence that a general boycott will have any positive effect at all. If anything, it seems to be a distraction from meaningful solidarity work.

The fact that there is correlation among Britain’s political class between support for Israel and support for internal repression is another reason for you to lend this support.

I don't support Mugabe either.

If you’d rather spend your time explaining why the Palestinian struggle should not be supported because it is “nationalistic”, you are of course making a political decision, and one that belies your political self-representation.

I've never said that. I'm against such things as offering support to Hamas, treating all Palestians as a monolithic block, completely ignoring class in your analysis etc. None of those things are a necessary component to supporting the interests of the Palestinian working class.

Anarchists against the Wall, as anarchists, certainly oppose states in principle. Yet every week they go and participate in protests against the wall, clashing with specifically Israeli soldiers who represent the state of Israel. Yet Anarchists Against the Wall never go to Ramallah to clash with them.

This is not lack of balance or failure to see the problem with nationalism. It is the practical understanding that political struggle takes place in a predetermined and differentiated terrain, and requires making choices and establishing priorities based on analysis of the relations of forces and the identities they shape in any given moment.


They'd be one of the previously mentioned groups within Israel I'm happy to support. I'm not talking about establishing priorities. I'm talking about making alliances with reactionary social forces to achieve your political goals, no matter how conditional.

“Everybody sucks” is not a revolutionary slogan.

And it's not my slogan either. "Victory to the working class" is my position, regardless of what country they reside in.

"Victory to Hamas" is even less of a revolutionary slogan, but it's the objective position of much of the last century left.

So please explain to me how exactly do you fight against all states and why do you not support those who struggle against the state of Israel.

For the first question, you support progressive working class forces wherever they may be. And you don't ally with or support anti-working class forces.

For the second, as I've made clear I do support those who struggle against the state of Israel, as I support those who struggle against states anywhere.

I merely refuse to support ALL who do, whatever their politics are.

(I really hope that you're not expecting me to reel off a list of specific details of my political activism. That's a really dumb idea for either of us, for reasons that should be obvious).

Waterloo Sunset said...

Margaret-

I think you were talking with Waterloo Sunset and, again, I apologize for interrupting.

Don't worry about it. I refuse pointblank to engage with nwo as I suspect he/she may be a fascist.

No harm. No foul.

nwo said...

I understand your point Margaret, about the need for definitions and common usage for meaningful discussion. We do our best.

I mean, we've got one fellow here that suspects American Christian Conservative Classical Liberals are Fascists.

Evildoer said...

There is no 'automatic' support for any group or individual fighting against a state, despite my opposition to states.…It is, however, conditional on them taking a class analysis as opposed to a nationalist one. I make no apologies for that. By your logic I should support the Kahanists if they come into conflict with the Israeli state.

I did not ask for automatic support. We are in the real world. We are talking about left anti-zionism in Israel, not theoretical parties. Would you please identify for me an Israeli socialist platform, or an Israeli intellectual/political position, that you consider worthy of support and that doesn’t consider the Palestinian national struggle to be a progressive force and/or doesn’t actively support the Palestinian national struggle?

Define support and define solidarity. Apart from anything else, I don't see any evidence that a general boycott will have any positive effect at all.

I just gave examples of solidarity. Whenever you see a picket line, do you cross it blithely if in your personal opinion it will not have a positive effect? I would begin by defining solidarity as recognizing the need for oppressed people to self-organize and to decide what kind of solidarity they ask for, and then give it to them unless you have an extremely good reason not to. Can you tell me which Palestinian group or tendency passes your test and which demand for solidarity coming for Palestine you heed?

…Offering support to Hamas, treating all Palestians as a monolithic block, completely ignoring class in your analysis etc. None of those things are a necessary component to supporting the interests of the Palestinian working class.

I don’t see what is the connection between support for Hamas in certain specific struggles, for example the struggle to be recognized as a legitimate elected government, the struggle to break the siege, or the military fight during the latest invasion, and absence of class analysis. Can you please identify for me a Palestinian leftist you think highly of, who called for NOT supporting Hamas in relation of these specific struggles? Can you lay out for me the logic of how failing to challenge the European/Egyptian/U.S./Israel siege of Gaza because Hamas is an Islamic party supports the interests of the Palestinian working class?

The Contentious Centrist said...

I think that Levi, Evil, Margaret and David L are bored silly in their mother blog. I just visited there and it seems that these four speak mainly to each other and one or two frequent visitors, all nodding in agreement. It must be fatiguing to repeat the same tired arguments, trying to sex up their discourse with gossip and complaints about the enemy. So they decide to hop over to Bob's much livelier and interesting and versatile and sane blog, and kick up a little dust, by way of exciting themselves.

Reading their endless posts and long comments on their blog one comes away with the impression that Palestinian future means very little to them. It is more important to feel good about themselves and score a point against their ideological rivals. So much sarcasm is poured there that it is sheer tedium to read on. Even if there is a good argument somewhere, it gets lost in all that noise and corrosive contempt. In the noise to signal ratio, they are generating mainly noise.

Coffee machine sensor syndrome. No coffee will be flowing from their spouts any time soon.

Levi9909 said...

Contentious Centrist Why do you have to be so inventive when you know precisely that what brought me here was Bob failing to make a case for Israel at my blog, after initially asking me why I had called him a zionist, and then coming to his own blog to complain falsely that he had been "just insulted again and again" in a lengthy and detailed thread where every point he made was dealt with in full and beyond?

I mentioned in a thread at my blog what was happening here and two of my co-bloggers and a regular commenter have popped over to see and contribute. But I'd far rather Bob would contribute.

I brought up what was happening here in the context of a comment about the various ducks, dives and dodges to which zionists (and some who claim to be non-zionists) resort to try to win arguments without actually addressing the points being made.

Really, I don't see how anyone can look at the thread that Bob complains about and not see that Bob was not "just insulted again and again".

I haven't actually read the comments of the people you have gratuitously insulted (my gmail account cascades the notifications so that the latest conceals all previous) but I know Evildoer (Gabriel Ash) is a very articulate writer on Palestine, zionism and capitalism and David L is an incisive academic on the Jewish identity and a successful promoter of the boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) campaign against Israel in Ireland. I don't know much about Margaret but I know she is quite a fan of Jews sans frontieres and doesn't suffer trolls gladly.

I don't know why I expected Bob to be a better person than the people who are so negatively supporting him here and the people/groups he appears to support on his blog but I did, so I thought he might be conscience stricken by his disingenuousness (or his blind spot for Israel) and I hoped that he might happen along and explain why he reduced the debate at my blog to that one throwaway line that suggested that I cannot sustain an argument for my politics or that I cannot explain why I might describe someone as a zionist. Or I hoped he might withdraw the remark and maybe even apologise.

Of course, he could be anywhere, but most people can check into their own blog and comments wherever they are and he is being represented here by two clowns who haven't once engaged with substantive points in a lengthy debate, together with a more hardcore "hands off the BNP" racist, whose racism you CC only noticed after I had pointed it out. And you had the diabolical nerve to liken him to Gabriel and me after having made out that I was actually a worse kind of racist than nwo. Make your mind up, geezer. I wonder what Bob thinks of such allies as you. Maybe we'll find out soon but I'm guessing he'll spot nwo a bit quicker than you did.

Woops, CC, you did try to engage with one point, you made out that there is a Palestinian nationalism, ie a nationalism at least for some people who by definition come from Palestine that compares to a nationalism specifically for Jews from anywhere in the world, no matter when or where they or their ancestors became Jewish and at the expense of people who are not Jewish.

But you couldn't sustain the argument, especially in the context of invoking antisemitism, as Bob has done, as an explanation for the "lopsided" opprobrium that Israel attracts on/from the left and other quarters.

By the way, there were 12 contributors to the thread that Bob claims to have been "just insulted again and again" on and none of them were co-bloggers of mine but one was Margaret. And that's without mentioning the fact that Modernity Blog appears to have followed every detail of the thread, though he didn't contribute there. Curiously, since he felt he has something to say about what was said there, he only contributed here "about" the thread there and "about" me. Unlike you, he didn't even try to engage with one substantive point so I'd say his tactics are probably a little more honed than yours.

So well done Contentious "Centrist"! You've chucked a few insults about, made some ludicrous assumptions about the motivations and even moods of people you don't know and you've made just one substantive point that you couldn't sustain in a debate.

Oh yes, and you belatedly noticed a white supremacist after I had pointed it out to you and you first tried to make out that I am a worse kind of racist and when you engaged with nwo yourself you tried to make out that he or she is just like Gabriel and me.

I think this thread is a record-breaker on this blog and mostly because two trolls who haven't made any case for their politics or any case against mine (or anyone else's bar a clumsy engagement with a white supremacist) have supported Bob in what was an outright falsehood.

All I am seeking is an explanation from someone whose misconception about the State of Israel vis a vis the states of the world has led him into some dubious formulations and to even more dubious company.

Now give it a rest CC and you MB. Let's just wait and hear what Bob has to say. Whatever it is, I think he must be crushed with embarrassment to be supported by someone who has tried to liken me to someone who believes in giving the BNP an even break. But I don't like assumptions being made about me so I'll just wait for Bob unless something attracts my attention that I think warrants a response.

Gert said...

Oh, having read this fracas there's no doubt in my mind that it the defenders here (CC and MB) that lost their arguments a long time ago. The one that's been clear and consistent here is Levi.

And where's Broccoli Bob? Hiding in Cafe Crema again?

The Contentious Centrist said...

Gert, that's some ostentatious statement, coming from someone who has just refused to answer very simple questions:

https://www.blogger.com/comment.g?blogID=16873276&postID=5455064446902284129

Waterloo Sunset said...

Evildoer-

Would you please identify for me an Israeli socialist platform, or an Israeli intellectual/political position, that you consider worthy of support and that doesn’t consider the Palestinian national struggle to be a progressive force and/or doesn’t actively support the Palestinian national struggle?

I already did. Anarchists Against the Wall do not take a nationalist position.

There is an issue in Israel however, though it's not unique to there. I'll admit freely that one of the major problems is that those groups most likely to take an anti-nationalist position are stuck in the quagmire of lifestylism and stuff like animal rights. I'm thinking of groups like "One Struggle" here. (I suspect that may be our first point of absolute agreement).

I just gave examples of solidarity. Whenever you see a picket line, do you cross it blithely if in your personal opinion it will not have a positive effect? I would begin by defining solidarity as recognizing the need for oppressed people to self-organize and to decide what kind of solidarity they ask for, and then give it to them unless you have an extremely good reason not to.

Interesting parallel there that you may well not be aware of. Recently, there's been much debate on the British left whether to support a particular strike because of the nationalist elements involved.

But this sums up everything wrong with the left. "Who cares about effectiveness? Let's do it anyway!". Moralistic gesture politics at its 'finest'.

Can you tell me which Palestinian group or tendency passes your test and which demand for solidarity coming for Palestine you heed?

The grassroots community organising and resistance that happens every day. It was particularly evident in the first Intifada, which is one of the reasons it caused so much tension within the Israeli army.

I don’t see what is the connection between support for Hamas in certain specific struggles, for example the struggle to be recognized as a legitimate elected government, the struggle to break the siege, or the military fight during the latest invasion, and absence of class analysis.

Because you're lining up with a reactionary far right party, which has broken strikes and attacked workers.

Can you please identify for me a Palestinian leftist you think highly of, who called for NOT supporting Hamas in relation of these specific struggles?

I'm pretty sure that the teachers' union isn't exactly pro Hamas. Or are they not famous enough to count as leftists for you?

Can you lay out for me the logic of how failing to challenge the European/Egyptian/U.S./Israel siege of Gaza because Hamas is an Islamic party supports the interests of the Palestinian working class?

Not my position. I say we should challenge the siege without lining up along Hamas.

I should say I think there is a difference between the position of the Israeli left and the British left here. I can accept there are operational reasons for the former not attacking Hamas when working within Palestine. There are no similar reasons for the British left to call for a Hamas victory, or to have them as official speakers at demonstrations. To do so is to side with one capitalist gang against another.

vildechaye said...

RE: Palestinian nationalism is capable of an inclusiveness that zionism (in all of its manifestations represented at the World Zionist Congress Organisation) is incapable of.
AND
Palestinian nationalism can be for all of the people of alestine/Israel whereas zionism cannot be and is not.

This is intellectual masturbation of the highest order. The reality on the ground is that Israel has 1 million Arab non-Jews, whereas the Palestinian authority will evict every single jew from its territory when it becomes a sovereign state. Jordan, which is 60% Palestinian, also does not have a single Jew living there. Surely constitutional/intellectual tolerance means nothing when the facts on the ground state precisely the opposite. In fact, the Arab world from 1948 has participated in an ethnic cleansing program of Jews that the Israelis cannot come close to.

And yes, the WZO is unique. Israel is unique. As was the situation of the Jews in Europe, both before and after WWII. Arguments against Zionism that don't take that into account are not worth considering. The famous historian Isaac Deutscher, who was very anti-zionist before WWII, regretted it after, saying he could have saved Jewish lives had he not campaigned so vigorously against zionism.

That was the reality then, and when Israel was established. And it's why Israel is a unique case. Funny how you can't get your head around what seems to me to be a simple fact borne of history.

Levi9909 said...

Thank you Vildechaye for admitting that Israel is a special case. It is indeed a special case in that it is the only country in the world that grants an automatic right to live there to people who do not come from there whilst denying that automatic right to people who do come from there.

The remaining Arabs within Israel's pre-1967 boundary are barred from over 93% of the surface area and as a general rule are excluded from most areas of public life.

During the intifada of the late 80s early 90s Rabin threatened them with expulsion and so did Tzipi Livni in her recent election campaign. And of course there is now a foreign minister who is openly considering ways of ridding Israel of them and Ehud Barak has said that he is considering the same thing but he publicly disagreed with going public about it! Really he actually said that.

Prejudging what the Palestinians would or wouldn't do in the event of a fair settlement is simply a self-serving and racist assumption. How would it be if you were deprived of your rights if you were accused of some future wrong doing if you weren't deprived of those rights?

Isaac Deutscher was simply factually wrong in what he said. The fact that he moved from anti-zionism to zionism means nothing. It is a straight fact that more Jews died in the holocaust because of the machinations of the zionist movement than would have been the case without zionist collaboration with the nazis.

When Hitler first came to power in 1933, there was a global boycott which was broken by the German Zionist Federation. They signed an agreement with the nazis whereby Jews leaving Germany for Palestine could take most or all of their belongings whereas Jews going elsewhere could only take 10%. That must have led to more Jews being trapped in Germany than if the global boycotters could have helped fell the regime or if they could have had Jews bound for places other than Palestine take more belongings with them.

That of course, isn't the only case of zionist collaboration with the nazis. The cases are too well documented to deny.

Also, Zionists were active in persuading governments not to allow Jews into their countries and the zionists were not interested in large scale rescue operations. It's true that many governments didn't take much persuading but that's not the point.

Many times the zionists were an active hindrance to rescue attempts and they collaborated in the round up of Jews in Hungary as late as 1944.

Ben Gurion's dictum about preferring to save 250,000 Jews who came to Palestine in preference to saving 500,000 bound for elsewhere is too well known for you to not know but maybe Deutscher didn't know it. I suspect he did.

From what I have read of Deutscher's argument I think he was being disingenuous. And from what I have read of yours I think you are too.

As it happens the WZO raised its demand for a state specially for Jews by way of the removal of most of the native population (the poor) from Palestine back in the 1890s. Britain gave its support to the zionist project from 1917 and Lord Balfour said that all the major powers were supporting the zionist project in 1919. Hitler was still licking his wounds in a German military hospital at the time.

Anyway, so the zionists built up their presence in Palestine and in 1936 the Palestinian Arabs rose up against British rule and Britain smashed them into the ground and by 1939 Palestine was ripe for zionist conquest. WWII broke out that year and the Brits wanted to stay in Palestine and the zionists wanted them to stay there too except some of the precursors to Likud who wanted an alliance with Hitler, lest we forget.

So far from Israel existing, as you imply and so many zionists say, because of the holocaust, it probably would have existed prior to that were it not for WWII.

Also, the only state that went from an anti-zionist position to a pro-zionist one from before the war to after was the Soviet Union under Stalin.

Now you can delude yourself that powerful states make their decisions on the basis of who they feel most sorry for or who they think is the most special case, but at the end of the day I think they just pursue the interests of their ruling establishments. In fact, I'm sure they do.

And of course this instrumentalisation of the holocaust is a cynical exercise in manipulation.

But going back to Bob, he insisted that Israel isn't a special case and it was only his misrepresentation of what took place in that thread he came to that brought me here.

Levi9909 said...

Bob - it's starting to look like you are simply a bare faced liar. I just followed your link to that Matt's comment and again it was an out of context quote. Ok it wasn't you but the fact that you have linked to it without correction shows that you want people to believe that I simply assumed you were a zionist a propos nothing in particular.

You may have noticed that I have veered between allowing you a bit of an excuse of misunderstanding and the idea that you are wilfully dishonest, in spite of the fact that the latter explanation of your behaviour is the most plausible but you know that my assumption that you support Jewish supremacy in occupied Palestine was not baseless and as it turned out wasn't even wrong. You also know that you were not "just insulted again and again", rather you were out of your depth, possibly because you can't make a case for Israel as currently constituted or possibly because you're not the sharpest knife in the drawer. You're also not a man of the highest integrity.

Anyway, here's your comment:

What makes you say mine is "the blog of a zionist"? Where's the Zionist content?I responded thus:

I didn't say your blog has zionist content.

Woops, I didn't notice you asking what makes me say that yours is the blog of a zionist. I just assumed that you are one, that's all. I can't remember why and I can't be bothered to check. I must have a notion that you think Israel is within its rights to be a state specifically for Jews and that Jews, their immediate descendants and dependants are entitled to more right to citizenship than the native non-Jewish population. If I'm wrong by all means let me know. I'm always happy to correct. In fact that used to be my USP.
Now please do the decent thing, you are decent aren't you? and run a little correction.

I've allowed for misunderstanding, I've wished you mazel tov on a record breaking thread but now you've misrepresented the thread at my blog and maligned me in the process and you've not just allowed the thread to be misrepresented elsewhere, you've promoted the misrepresentation knowingly.

Come now Bob, wherever you are, it's time for a correction.

vildechaye said...

RE: Thank you Vildechaye for admitting that Israel is a special case. It is indeed a special case in that it is the only country in the world that grants an automatic right to live there to people who do not come from there whilst denying that automatic right to people who do come from there.

No, thank you levi for ignoring why israel is a special case. It takes a special personality to ignore centuries of european persecution culminating in the murder of 6 million and simply slag the survivors for wanting their own land. It takes a certain chutzpah not to understand why Jews would want their own country in their ancestral homeland after all that.

RE: The remaining Arabs within Israel's pre-1967 boundary are barred from over 93% of the surface area and as a general rule are excluded from most areas of public life.

Actually that is bullshit. They are full citizens, with full voting rights, can be govt officials, cabinet ministers etc. I'm not denying there is discrimination, as there is in all Western countries against minorities in one way or another, but as in everything else, you way overstate your case.

RE: During the intifada of the late 80s early 90s Rabin threatened them with expulsion and so did Tzipi Livni in her recent election campaign. And of course there is now a foreign minister who is openly considering ways of ridding Israel of them and Ehud Barak has said that he is considering the same thing but he publicly disagreed with going public about it! Really he actually said that.

Tzipi Livni did not threaten Arabs with expulsion. She said their NATIONAL aspirations would be fulfilled in Palestine, not Israel. She did not threaten to revoke their CITIZENSHIP. I'm afraid her point went over your head.

RE: Prejudging what the Palestinians would or wouldn't do in the event of a fair settlement is simply a self-serving and racist assumption. How would it be if you were deprived of your rights if you were accused of some future wrong doing if you weren't deprived of those rights?

Oh please. Nobody is prejudging anything, and stop flinging around accusations of racism anytime you hear something you don't like. The Palestinians have made it clear in statements that all the settlers would have to go, and Jordan has 0 jews. that is a fact. Again, you don't respond to the point i was making, but try to weasel out by silly accusations of racism.

RE: Isaac Deutscher was simply factually wrong in what he said. The fact that he moved from anti-zionism to zionism means nothing. It is a straight fact that more Jews died in the holocaust because of the machinations of the zionist movement than would have been the case without zionist collaboration with the nazis.

This is outrageous garbage. First of all Isaac Deutscher was not wrong. He was simply echoing what all Jews who were non-Zionists before the war said after the war, including my own grandfather. As for the nonsense about zionists, i think you should stop reading at conspiracy sites and realize that zionists did not conspire with hitler but rather were killed in the millions by hitler. Try raising that little point at a holocaust survivors' gathering and see how far you'll get. I think those people ought to be entitled to know who their real enemies were, and if "zionists" were determined to have been in any way responsible, survivors would spit at their graves. But no, they have all (well 99% at least) become zionists themselves. This argument of yours is truly low.

RE: When Hitler first came to power in 1933, there was a global boycott which was broken by the German Zionist Federation. They signed an agreement with the nazis whereby Jews leaving Germany for Palestine could take most or all of their belongings whereas Jews going elsewhere could only take 10%. That must have led to more Jews being trapped in Germany than if the global boycotters could have helped fell the regime or if they could have had Jews bound for places other than Palestine take more belongings with them.

This is pure bullshit from "out there" sources. Even at that, it applies only to German Jews (500,000) but not Polish or all the others who make up the 6 million dead. It's interesting that only "anti-Zionists" blame the zionists for the Holocaust. The Jewish community, which has a rather large stake in the matter, sees it quite differently. If you want to be taken seriously by anyone other than this little circle of anti-zionists, you better ditch this particular line of argument.

RE: That of course, isn't the only case of zionist collaboration with the nazis. The cases are too well documented to deny.
THEY are documented by anti-semites and holocaust deniers and in fact are utter bullshit. It's scandalous how you keep repeating this canard. No SERIOUS historian believes any of this Zionist/Nazi collaboration garbage. But hey, you go on talking about it; it only diminishes your arguments and strengthens your opponents.

RE: Also, Zionists were active in persuading governments not to allow Jews into their countries and the zionists were not interested in large scale rescue operations. It's true that many governments didn't take much persuading but that's not the point.

More bullshit i'm sick of this crap.

RE: Many times the zionists were an active hindrance to rescue attempts and they collaborated in the round up of Jews in Hungary as late as 1944.

More of the same deliberate twisting of facts and selective sourcing here. It's embarrassing.

Ben Gurion's dictum about preferring to save 250,000 Jews who came to Palestine in preference to saving 500,000 bound for elsewhere is too well known for you to not know but maybe Deutscher didn't know it. I suspect he did.

Yes i'm sure Ben Gurion was fervent about Palestine. That's why he was the leader of the movement. He's also beloved among most Jews, who clearly don't blame him and are just as interested in knowing the facts as you are (more so, actually, by the look of things).

RE: From what I have read of Deutscher's argument I think he was being disingenuous. And from what I have read of yours I think you are too.

Actually i think you are being disingenuous. Who cares if you "think" Deutscher was being disingenous. By the way, it takes a certain personality to question an individual's change of heart after realizing his error that resulted in the deaths of millions. Some would even call it heartless.

RE: As it happens the WZO raised its demand for a state specially for Jews by way of the removal of most of the native population (the poor) from Palestine back in the 1890s. Britain gave its support to the zionist project from 1917 and Lord Balfour said that all the major powers were supporting the zionist project in 1919. Hitler was still licking his wounds in a German military hospital at the time.

But anti-semitism in Europe was raging, in the 1890s (Dreyfus affair, Russian pogroms, endemic anti-semitism in eastern europe and Germany).


Anyway, so the zionists built up their presence in Palestine and in 1936 the Palestinian Arabs rose up against British rule and Britain smashed them into the ground and by 1939 Palestine was ripe for zionist conquest. WWII broke out that year and the Brits wanted to stay in Palestine and the zionists wanted them to stay there too except some of the precursors to Likud who wanted an alliance with Hitler, lest we forget.

More bullshit, precursers of Likud aren't my favorite guys but there is nothing other than overworked imaginations of conspiracy theorists on this issue.

RE: So far from Israel existing, as you imply and so many zionists say, because of the holocaust, it probably would have existed prior to that were it not for WWII.

A. I never said Israel exists because of the holocaust, and B. i don't agree with your contention that it would have existed prior to WWII. But all this is irrelevant anyway.

RE: Also, the only state that went from an anti-zionist position to a pro-zionist one from before the war to after was the Soviet Union under Stalin.
Relevance???

RE:Now you can delude yourself that powerful states make their decisions on the basis of who they feel most sorry for or who they think is the most special case, but at the end of the day I think they just pursue the interests of their ruling establishments. In fact, I'm sure they do.

I think you could give me advanced lessons on being delusional.

RE: And of course this instrumentalisation of the holocaust is a cynical exercise in manipulation.

Of course it is, because the organized murder of 6 million is just fodder for manipulation, not truly traumatic in a communal and individual sense. This is a pathetic statement.

RE: But going back to Bob, he insisted that Israel isn't a special case and it was only his misrepresentation of what took place in that thread he came to that brought me here.

I don't care what brought you here, or what bob originally said.

Final thought: After reading this twisted interpretation of history, it's clear why folks who think like you do are totally marginalized. And thank god for that.

Levi9909 said...

Vildechaye - My argument was with Bob and his argument was that Israel was not a special case.

The idea that Jews were simply persecuted for centuries is wrong. Funnily enough it's as wrong and as dishonest as Bob saying that he was "just insulted again and again" on my blog.

Some Jews have been enormously privileged and non-Jews have suffered at the hands of Jews, Jews have suffered at the hands of other Jews and Jews have suffered at the hands of non-Jews, and (sit down Vildechaye this next one might shock you) some non-Jews have suffered at the hands of non-Jews.

It's true, there has been suffering in various parts of the world and in various places that hasn't involved Jews at all. Sorry to break it to you so starkly but there have been sufferings in Africa, Asia, the Americas and Australasia that bear comparison to anything Jews or other Europeans have suffered and no group gets the right to a state for people that don't come from there in preference to people that do over it and no one ever suggests that they should. It's only Israel that gets that privilege. But it's only for public consumption. Governments don't fall for that tosh.

It's true that some states gained independence because of the cruelty of their masters, Ireland would be such a case. But they exist for all of their people together with the immediate descendants of those who went abroad who can prove their individual connection to the country. Ireland also withholds automatic citizenship from people that are born there but with no ancestry from there. As disgusting as that is, it is still not the same as Israel barring most of the natives from there and reserving the right and threatening on occasion to bar the rest.

You cannot establish a state on the basis of permanent population transfer, Jews in - non-Jews out, because of a selective reading of history and Israel does not exist because of past persecutions of Jews but because forces outside the middle east far more powerful that anything on offer inside the middle want a foothold there, that together with a desire among some Jews, not for safety, Israel is the least safe place on earth for Jews, but for supremacy.

Your reasoning is 100% ahistorical. The zionist movement wasn't founded or led by persecuted Jews. It was founded by very privileged largely assimilatated Jews and supported by classic imperialists and antisemites.

I didn't bother reading the rest of your comment because you appear to have done a Bob and left a thread on my blog where you made yourself look ridiculous to come and whinge on another.

Go try another, I'm still looking out for Bob. He was making such a good case for the Israel he claims not to support unless he is "attacked as a Jew", whatever that means.

vildechaye said...

First of all, i think "looking ridiculous" is in the eye of the beholder. Your posts, for example, are ridiculous, selective, anti-historical garbage to me. As for whinging on other sites, that too depends on your point of view. But i have to agree with you about one thing: I'm about as interested in you as you are with me; the big difference between us is that your point of view is marginal, ill-educated, and based on selective reading of selective texts. It doesn't pass the historical test, and you'll never see it. Take care in your unwinnable battle for respectability.

Levi9909 said...

Vildechaye - I am not going to waste my time reading lengthy comments from people who are obviously dishonest from the outset.

At my own blog you claimed to be an engagenik and then you admitted that your involvement with engage was no more than your involvement with my blog. And then you had the nerve to say that we were taking a personal interest in you. Why should I waste my time reading lengthy comments from such an chancer?

Bob was a different story. Ok, I now know him to be a determined liar but when he came to my blog to beef about my referring to him as a zionist I thought he might be a well meaning person with a blind spot for Israel. There are people like that though a few more Gazas and their position will be completely untenable rather than just very.

But anyway, Bob made several points to try to make out that opposition to Israel was "lopsided" and therefore motivated by antisemitism. At one point he said something about resisting as a Jew when he is attacked as a Jew which I took to be an excuse for supporting Israel.

So he rode two tracks. The first was to imply that he does actually favour Israel in ways that he wouldn't favour other states if he feels that he is being attacked as a Jew. The other was that Israel is just like certain other states that he named, though he had to invent legal arrangements to support his position. There was also a related point that whilst Israel is a serial human rights abuser, it's not as bad as certain others.

It's true I didn't really deal with the first point because no one at my blog was attacking Jews or him for being one. I dealt with the second points about Israel's unique state structure and the fact that Israel may not be a worse human rights abuser than certain other countries but that its existence is predicated on its continuing human rights abuses like no other.

Incidentally, if respectability meant anything to me I wouldn't be openly anti-zionist, I'd keep it to myself but I think it's important to speak out against Israel because, notwithstanding Bob et al's persecution complex, western governments, oppositions, mainstream media and probably thousands of blogs support those racist war criminals using all the dodgy formulations that the now discredited Bob uses in spite of his bogus and irrelevant assertion that he is a non-zionist.

But don't feel bad vildechaye, you're not the first person to come here to support Bob and actually manage to undermine him by contradicting him. But then your first comment at my blog was flatly contradicted by your second comment in the same thread.

The thread on my blog that Bob so flagrantly lied about is here.

jams o donnell said...

Bob this has nothing to do the post but if you would like to see Mor Karbasi on Sunday for nothing can you contact me on my blog email address (thepoormouth at gmail.com)

Regards

Jams

The Contentious Centrist said...

According to wiki, this is a definition of harassment:

"Harassment refers to a wide spectrum of offensive behaviour. The term commonly refers to behaviour intended to disturb or upset, and, when the term is used in a legal sense, it refers to behaviours which are found threatening or disturbing."

Types of harassments:

* Psychological harassment

...humiliating or abusive behaviour that lowers a person’s self-esteem or causes them torment. This can take the form of verbal comments, actions or gestures.

# Stalking

The unauthorized following and surveillance of an individual, to the extent that the person's privacy is unacceptably intruded upon, and the victim fears for their safety.

# Mobbing

Violence committed directly or indirectly by a loosely affiliated and organized group of individuals to punish ... a person for some alleged offence .... The 'offense' can..[be no more than a] simple expression of ethnic, cultural, or religious attitudes. The issue of the victim's actual guilt or innocence is often irrelevant to the mob, since the mob relies on contentions that are unverifiable, unsubstantiated, or completely fabricated."

Levi's obsessive posting of extra-long and scandalous comments in this thread is clearly an attempt at harassment and bullying.

I noticed in the past this leech- like habit by the "antiZionists" and antisemites to attach themselves to their victim. Eve Garrard once defined the behaviour of "anti Zionists" antisemites as a type of stalking. I think we have an apt example of such a syndrome in Levi's presence here.

Bob said...

Wow, I go away for a couple of days, and this happens. I'm going to have to print this out and read it properly before I can really weigh in.

One or two preliminaries. First, Levi/Mark is very offended by my statement that I was "insulted again and again". I think that the tone of response to me from the moment I appeared at JsF was dismissive: a statement from Levi/Mark that he basically couldn't be bothered to check why he had "just assumed" I was a Zionist. This was followed by a number of mentions of the lengthiness of my comments, which is a little ironic given, (a) the lengthiness of the responses to those comments, and (b) the lengthiness of the interventions here.

Why didn't I carry on the fight at JsF? Because I simply don't have much on-line time for this sort of thing, much as I wish I did, and I prefer to enter into conversation with those I can disagree with civilly. I think I have answers to most of the JsF commenters who have "demolished" my arguments, but it'd take me a while to type them out, and I was already accused of being overly wordy. Maybe I'll make the effort when I have time

Second, on the CC/WS debate that starts early in this thread and tapers off, I think the debate. WS: Just for the record, I identify as an "internationalist", as opposed to an "anti-zionist". CC: since you define yourself an internationalist" and I was speaking about anti-Zionists... This is probably the nub of it: decent no-staters (like WS) rarely define themselves as "anti-Zionists", even though they are "against Zionism", because there against-Zionism-ness is part and parcel of a bigger against-ness, i.e. anti-nationalism, so, it seems to me, you're both kind of right.

More later...

bob said...

And a few comments arrived even as I was typing the last one. I'm a slow typer, which makes me ill-suited to these games. I am a bit flabbergastered as to how I have revealed myself as "a determined liar".

As for the "attacked as a Jew" point, Mark completely misinterprets me. What I meant was that any inclination I might have to call myself a Zionist is based on the fact that the way Jews are attacked these days is primarily as Zionists. I don't eat kosher meat, but when the BNP act green in making a big deal about ritual slaughter, my position is on the side of the observant. I am an anti-nationalist, but when jew-hatred manifests itself as "criticism" of Israel, I feel called upon to speak out. This does not mean that I think all criticism of Israel is antisemitism, just that some of it most certainly is.

Quote of the day: "I am not going to waste my time reading lengthy comments from people who are obviously dishonest from the outset." -Levi9909.

Jams, thanks for the lovely offer. Will e-mail you.

The Contentious Centrist said...

"..it seems to me, you're both kind of right."

Yes which is why the conversation tapered off, I guess:)

Still I couldn't help noticing how very much more civil Sunset was to the antizionists than he was to the Zionist*... He probably thinks they are much more reasonable and sane than yours truly.

*It sounds a bit pretentious to account for myself as one, when all I did was be born in Israel, years after the Zionist project had been completed, having achieved its goal: the establishment of a state for Jewish people. But of course there is a reason why people continue to speak about "Zionists" in this day and age. It is easier to pretend that it is an ideology and a theory, rather than a state with actual people living there. It's Ahmadinejad's logic: We have nothing against Israelis qua Israelis.. It's the Zionists we want to wipe out.

The Contentious Centrist said...

"I don't eat kosher meat, but when the BNP act green in making a big deal about ritual slaughter, my position is on the side of the observant."

This reminds me of the Quebec Matzogate kerfuffle: in 1996, due to the overzealous intervention of a particularly devoted Language law inspector, kosher matzo packages were taken off supermarkets' shelves because the writing on the boxes was not in French. Quebec language law stipulates that every product coming into Quebec must carry French language information. Mordechai Richler, in one of his mordantly satirical flights, explained: "If I were crossing the border to the US, I would be careful not to have maijuana or cocaine or heroine on me, but coming in here you better not have any kosher matzos”.

Matzogate finally embarrassed the Quebec government enough to allow a 65 days a year grace period to allow the importation of kosher matzo and other prepared foods before and after the Passover observance. On the 66th day, these products are illegal to sell.

But clearly this is not so strictly enforced. For example, my daughter had her heart set on a tamaguchi (or whatever it is called). We inquired at the nearest Toysrus but apparently they are not allowed to sell it in Quebec because it only speaks English. My husband got it from a Toysrus in Toronto and I have to say he managed to smuggle the toy into Quebec without any trouble whatsoever.

ModernityBlog said...

Welcome back Bob!

I'll bet you didn't expect this :)

Still I won't clutter up this comment box too much, as it is rather rude and indulgent to do so, but I think the activities of Elf and Co have illustrated my first point.

I would, however, differentiate between Elfites and WS's views.

As the latter is a principled and considered approach, even if you disagree with it, and can be substantiated by reason and clear argumentation.

Whereas Elfites have great problems honestly and objectively answering questions on their views and why they single out Israel and Israelis for so much animus when compared to other nations.

Not that they'd even understand the notion of objectivity vs. subjectivity.

I might even rattle up a post on this.

nwo said...

Where does that leave me?

nwo said...

Two clips from the latest Orwellian free-speech kabuki on campus featuring “right-wing extremist” Tom Tancredo versus the forces of Dialogue and Enlightenment. The Daily Tar Heel reports:

Quote: “I’m here because I represent UNC-Chapel Hill and I don’t support racism or fascism in the institution in which I am an educator,” graduate student Jason Bowers said…

After Tancredo entered the room, protesters kept him from speaking by shouting insults and holding a sign declaring “no dialogue with hate” in front of his face. Tancredo waited calmly while protestors held the sign and chanted…

After protestors exited the hallway, Tancredo spoke for about two minutes before a protestor outside the building banged on a window, shattering the glass.

Tancredo was escorted out of the room by police after he deemed the situation too volatile, Young said. End Quote

http://hotair.com/archives/2009/04/15/fiasco-amnesty-thugs-break-glass-shut-down-tancredo-at-unc/

vildechaye said...

I don't know or care about your dispute with Bob. I don't know Bob. I do know that I made a single post to your dumb JSF blog, and then was told by one of your minions (gert) that they wanted to know who i am and "what I stand for." (his words). So i returned. I never ever said I had anything to do with Engage, other than occasionally posting a comment there.

That I did or did not contradict Bob is entirely a fignment of your imagination (as is this dreamed up pseudo-history of Jews and Zionism and Israel), as I don't know Bob or what he thinks.

I'm sure your fellow posters on your blog think you're intelligent, what with all the reading you do on absolutely discredited subjects like zionism/nazism, etc, but frankly, you're just an embarrassment, and I don't want anything more to do with you. Modernity Blog and Contentious Centrist may enjoy jousting with you (maybe because it's so easy), but I find it nauseating. see ya.

Waterloo Sunset said...

CC-

Still I couldn't help noticing how very much more civil Sunset was to the antizionists than he was to the Zionist*... He probably thinks they are much more reasonable and sane than yours truly.Um, CC, your first contribution to our debate was as follows:

I will ignore the ad-homs as it appears that no anti-Zionist is ever capable of responding with any semblance of equanimity to a different opinion.If you can't take it, don't dish it out.

The Contentious Centrist said...

Let me remind you, sunset, of your first comment to me:

"Your failure to read anything that falls outside your nationalist cheerleading is a reflection on you, as opposed to them."

A comment which purported to know me, my reading habits, my blinkered politics and what not. Ad homs, by way of belittlement of another's point of view. In response to which I made an acerbic complaint.

bob said...

I printed out all the comments, which came to 56 pages in pretty small font. I read it on the bus, but only got exactly half-way, to 12 April 00:56, where “Levi9909” pastes in 13 pages of comments from his blog (mostly comments by him). So here are my responses to some of the things in the first half of the discussion.

1. NWO 9 April. I am against all identity politics, not for its extension to whites. I do value the white working class, but not as “male, Christian and English”. Incidentally, I don’t understand the logic, shared by some Harryists (and perhaps by Jogo) that the white nationalist right is strengthened by (liberals) “vilifying” white people, while the Islamic right is strengthened by (liberals) not vilifying Muslims enough.

2. ”A” 9 April. I am not “part of the brigade” that brands anti-Zionists as inherently antisemitic. Where do you see me doing that?

3. CC 10 April. Anti-nationalism/internationalism is against all nationalisms, and often especially their own. Indeed, this is precisely a good litmus test for whether someone is a sincere anti-nationalist or primarily an anti-Zionist.

4. Levi 11 April 11:26. Empirically, the evidence of an “inclusive” Palestinian nationalism is fairly thin. Edward Said might be a fairly exceptional (and arguably partial) example. The actually existing nationalist movement is hardly hospitable to Jewish Palestinians (aside from their token Satmer Hasids and Gilad Atzmon). Conceptually, there could be an inclusive Palestinian nationalism. However, if it really followed the logic of inclusion properly, there’d be no Palestinian nation. The logic of inclusion and the logic of nation-state are fundamentally opposed. If anyone can be part of a “nation”, regardless of their culture, language, ethnicity, affiliation, identification, creed, etc – then there is no nation.

Similarly, can there be an inclusive Zionism? Again, empirically fairly thin: the bi-nationalists of the 1940s, perhaps, and Meretz, maybe. Conceptually, the idea is as plausible and as implausible as an inclusive Palestinian nationalism, no more nor no less self-contradictory.

Incidentally, “Palestinian nationalism” historically was “Arab nationalism” until 1948 (or sometimes articulated in terms of a Greater Syria). This included Christians, although it was dominated by Muslims and linked to Muslim Brotherhood Islamism. It excluded Jews, Armenians, Kurds, Circassians, Druze and other non-Arabs in the region. (Lyn Julius from the right (see link in this post) and Moshe Machover from the left have both recently been fairly persuasive in arguing that “Arab Jews” have never really existed. Only in Iraq, and there fairly briefly and somewhat unevenly, were Jews genuinely included in a nationalist project in the Arab world. The “Palestinian nation” only emerged in 1948, and only then started working out who constituted the Palestinian “nation” (and who didn’t: the Jews).

In real life, we have lots of identities, place-based, ethnic, and otherwise. Nationalism, like other identity politics, priveliges one identity over others. It gives it ontological and political priority, and says it should correspond to a state and a territory. This is why the “nations” imagined by nationalism (the Jewish “nation”, invented in the 1880s, the Palestinian “nation” imagined in the 1940s, the Turkish “nation” imagined in the 1900s, and so on, back to the British “nation” imagined in the early modern period) do not map on to the messy realities of life.

Incidentally, you are vague about whether nationalism is territorial or not. (“Nationhood is a territorial concept and if it is said that it is not then we have to distinguish between non-territorial nations - Roma, Jews, etc, and territorial ones, French, Rwandan, Indian.” If we tie nation to territory, as most nationalists do, then we always have the question of what to do with those in the territory who don’t belong to the nation (hence the “Jewish question” and its avatars: the Armenian question, the Kurdish question, the question of the Greeks in Anatolia, the question of Muslims in Pakistan, the question of Georgians in Ossetia and Russians in Georgia, etc etc etc. If we do not tie nation to territory, what are you left with?

5. Levi 11 April 20:36 Which leads directly to the claim that “of course there is” such a thing as “borderless nationalism”. Is there? The nearest I can think of, ironically, is probably within Zionism: the anarcho-nationalism of Ahad Ha’am, Martin Buber and Gershom Scholem, who all wanted a Jewish “home” rather than a Jewish “nation”. But this is already starting to burst at the seams of nationalism.

I’ll stop there for now, although obviously I have more. I have lots to do today, so probably won’t check in for a while.

Levi9909 said...

Bob - you cannot guage attitudes on blog threads unless someome is explicity insulting and you jumped through several intellectually dishonest hoops before deciding that you had been "just insulted again and again".

I did not misinterpret anything you said. You misrepresented what occurred in a thread where you claimed that Israel's uniquely racist state structure, that invites, indeed mobilises, Jews from anywhere in the world, no matter when or where they or their ancestors became Jewish, to come and live in most of Palestine whilst denying that right to most of the native non-Jewish population, actually bore comparison to at least three named states that are not at all like the State of Israel in their structure.

It appears that you would rather falsely accuse innocent and honest anti-racists of antisemitism than accept that Israel stands out as a state whose very existence is predicated on its on-going human rights abuses.

My only point here is that you lied in your post and you even boasted that someone else had misrepresented the thread at my blog as well.

Trying to pass Israel off as similar to states that are at least nominally constituted for all of their people and not more for people from abroad than at home and being corrected does not amount to most people's view of "just being insulted again and again. The pearls of wisdom emanating from Contentious Centrist and Modernity Blog surely does but you don't seem too keen to post on that.

I urge you to stop digging. You came and wasted my time by asking me why I said you were a zionist and you seemed to suggest that I had said that you have zionist content on your blog.

I responded fully and offered to correct if I was wrong. Your subsuequent disingenuous defence of Israel merely confirmed to me what I had said. You are indeed a zionist by the definition I offered and you made no serious challenge to that definition.

I was and am disappointed because I thought you may have naively been assuming that Israel is just a run of the mill human rights abusers but your claims to know things that you couldn't know, like India is to Hindus as Israel is to Jews, that Rwanda is to one or both of Hutus or Tutses is as Israel is to Jews or that Germany is to "ethnic Germans" as Israel is to Jews.

You reduced all of that and more to a "non-argument" where you were "just insulted again and again".

You are not simply a liar but a liar for the racist war criminals of the State of Israel and against at least three (possibly more) honest detractors of the State of Israel and the zionist ideology.

Throughout the abuse that I have taken by people who seem to be regulars of yours, including a white supremacist that no one seemed to notice until I pointed it out, it struck me that you would rather falsely accuse people of antisemitism than recognise Israel's uniqueness, coupled with the privileged support it gets from America, the EU and the media but at the same time you leave a blog thread unmoderated so that any racist can come along and try to publicise their views.

So even your expression of concern over antisemitism seems to be suspect even if it wasn't simply a very typically zionist shroud-waving exercise for the racist war criminals of the State of Israel.

If you have any integrity at all you would run a correction like I do when I get something wrong. If you already done so, then thanks. I've spent too much time on this already.

The Contentious Centrist said...

"Incidentally, I don’t understand the logic, shared by some Harryists (and perhaps by Jogo) that the white nationalist right is strengthened by (liberals) “vilifying” white people, while the Islamic right is strengthened by (liberals) not vilifying Muslims enough."

This is somewhat related:

"Indeed, there is a feeling among more people than we might suspect that, with regard to those we call Islamists, we are really on the same side. This is certainly true of Western Europe where, as Bruce Bawer writes in While Europe Slept, “the multicultural elite [is], almost without exception, allied with the Islamic right.” Pascal Bruckner, in his recently published La Tyrannie de la Pénitence, has added a psychological twist to Europe’s hostility toward Israel and Jews, viewing it as an attempt to excuse its complicity with or passivity before Hitler’s Final Solution: if the Jewish state can be “proven” to be no different from or even worse than the Third Reich, then Europe is off the moral hook."

http://pajamasmedia.com/blog/darkness-of-anti-semitism-descends-on-the-west/

bob said...

Ah, I think I just worked out the lie I told. I said I just got insulted again and again, when in fact I was insulted, but also argued with. Is that it? I have no idea, though, what you're talking about with the "boasting" thing.

Because otherwise, I don't know what you're getting at really. I don't mind being insulted, it's just I don't want to hang out at your blog if that's what I get. I have limited time for this sort of thing.

Just for the record, I don't think that all anti-Zionism is antisemitic, and I have never, on your thread, this thread or elsewhere, said that it is. For the record, I am not a Zionist or an anti-Zionist, but don't really care if I am called either of those things. I was curious to why you thought I was one and not the other.

Also for the record, you will notice that my "regulars" are quite diverse: the four other main interlocuters in this debate have thoroughly different positions - an internationalist anarchist, a socialist, a centrist Israeli sort of Zionist, and some kind of white nationalist. I am not happy with the fourth of those hanging around at my place. But the space I hope I have created here is one where you don't identify it in terms of some pre-given ideological agenda or package that only appeals to people who are already convinced. For this reason, it has been described as a Zionist blog by you and by Lenin, while described as "Spartish" by another blogger and as "Bundist" by at least two regular visitors.

I'll put a line through the "jsut" and come back tomorrow on the Hutu /Tutsi and India issues.

TNC said...

Frankly, the discussion should have ended when Levi wrote the following:

"[T]he State of Israel is unique in that it invites and mobilises people with no known connection to the country (except via mythology/religion) to come and live there..."

Jews who fail to understand the historical connection of the Jewish people with the land of Israel are a lost cause. They are not worth your time or energy, Bob.

Even secular Jews acknowledge the evidence of Jewish habitation in Israel. You don’t have to be a religious Jew or a Zionist to recognize this. All you have do is open your eyes to reality. Better yet, go to Israel.

Waterloo Sunset said...

TNC-

On the other hand, I did fully clarify that statement when you queried it.

That's something of a side issue for me.

Because I don't in any way argue with the point that I can be aggressive and even dismissive in debate. I don't even deny that I sometimes personally attack people (I'm prone to the occasional apolitical flamewar for the lulz, as the young people say) although I honestly don't believe I attacked you personally in this thread. I'll happily hold up my hands to having attacked your politics, and not always civily.

But I don't care if people respond in kind. That's what I'm taking issue with as far as you're concerned. You do come across as wanting to throw rhetorical punches, while taking the moral high ground at the same time.

Quite honestly, it's one or the other for me.

The Contentious Centrist said...

I'm not TNC.

TNC said...

Contentious Centrist and New Centrist are both centrists but we are not the same person.

vildechaye said...

Just came back to look at some follow up and read Bob's sane responses to Levi's latest latet rant, another illustration of excessive verbosity but little more. The only thing worse than a nutter is a long-winded nutter, and seeing how much Levi seems love his own writing and voice, he definitely fits into the latter category.

Evildoer said...

I already did. Anarchists Against the Wall do not take a nationalist position.

There is an issue in Israel however, though it's not unique to there. I'll admit freely that one of the major problems is that those groups most likely to take an anti-nationalist position, are stuck in the quagmire of lifestylism and stuff like animal rights...I suspect that may be our first point of absolute agreement).
well, I certainly welcome the agreement, but I think it is wroth digging deeper. AATW is as group that de facto, by the struggles it involves itself in, supports Palestinian nationalism. My contention is simply this, and strengthened by your last words; in a context when oppression is primarily defined by nationality (by the oppressors), national resistance and struggle are so historically essential that regardless how you you feel about the many problems with nationalism, if you want to contribute to liberation in any way, you must ally with it at some level, and if you do not, you end up as indeed a "life style" revolutionary, or even an outright reactionary.

That does not mean you have to become a nationalist, or give up class analysis, or leave your criticism behind. It means however you cannot dismiss nationalism as simply "bourgeois" reaction and you have work with it.

(As an aside, I don't think nationalism is purely bourgeois. It's powerful bourgeois tool precisely because it contains a popular aspect that appeals primarily to the working class. but that is a different issue)

But this sums up everything wrong with the left. "Who cares about effectiveness? Let's do it anyway!". Moralistic gesture politics at its 'finest'.You are reading into what I wrote about BDS things that I never said, (and you might want to think what led you to this).

I never implied that BDS is not effective. Indeed I think it is. I am not going to argue this here but you are always welcome to our blog when we often deal with that question.

My point was that you take it for granted that, without deeply involving yourself in the work in the region, without asking yourself about your standing, and without examining the facts and the arguments in a way that unites theory and pracitce, i.e., as a casual observer (and I do not criticize you for being one, there is more than one worthy struggle and only 24 hours in a day), you suggest that your support to this strategy and campaign should be predicated upon your personal opinion on its effectiveness. This seems to me not to be a well thought attitude.

ModernityBlog said...

I didn't want to comment again on this thread, because I thought it was a bit of an imposition on Bob but a number of points have come up which I feel need dealing with:

1. Attitude and 2. Lopsidedness.

1. I think that many anti-Zionists or non nationalists don't always fully appreciate the sensitivities surrounding Israel, not unsurprisingly people connected with it, directly or indirectly, are occasionally defensive and assume the worse possible motives when people make demagogic statements against Israel or the Israelis.

Understandably so. Consider if you were in a forum discussing Ireland and you made a habit of being overly critical of Irish nationalism, in all its forms, then I'm sure that you'd receive a rebuke or two

So the topic of Israel, the Middle East, etc is already loaded and that leads to unnecessary friction and misunderstandings simply because people are slightly less charitable on motives nowadays.

A point worth remembering.

2. The topic of lopsidedness is key to understanding why some "anti-Zionists" have a habit of getting up other people's noses.

Not because of their arguments, not for the desire to discuss these issues but rather the mischaracterisation of other people's arguments. The result is that any discussion descends into a slanging match as the "anti-Zionists" make no effort to understand the points raised.

A prime example was the statement by Elf above, "But anyway, Bob made several points to try to make out that opposition to Israel was "lopsided" and therefore motivated by antisemitism."Whereas Bob had originally argued "Anyone who defines themselves as an anti-Zionist is lopsidely obsessed with one nation. There may perhaps be good faith reasons to be lopsidedly obsessed with Israel, but these are surely outweighed by the bad faith reasons, such as antisemitism."Compare that with later part with "that opposition to Israel was "lopsided" and therefore motivated by antisemitism."This is precisely what Bob did not argue, because it excludes his previous statement "There may perhaps be good faith reasons to be lopsidedly obsessed with Israel, " which is a polite way of saying (as far as I read it, and Bob will correctly), that not all lopsidedness is motivated by the worst possible motives, ie. anti-Jewish racism.

So that's a fairly simple statement, and even that was misconstrued.

But I don't particularly want to engage with Elf, himself, rather use it as an illustration.

Just so no "anti-Zionists" are left in any doubt, on **my** view, not Bob's. In my view, a lopsided obsession with Israel does not necessarily (I repeat: does not) have to be motivated by antisemitism.

Whilst I'm not particularly interested in questioning individual's motivations, as without psychiatric help that seems an unproductive avenue, but the issue is examining the shorten reasoning on that statement, because clearly there are many possible reasons for such lopsidedness and antisemitism is only **one** possible cause.

Again, lopsidedness does not necessarily have to be motivated by antisemitism. It could be, but then again it doesn't have to be.

Lopsidedness could come as a result of a political climate in the country, an activists political agenda, recent tragic events which galvanise individuals, or an overly simplistic view of the Middle East, a misreading of history, political ignorance, political indoctrination, a failure to grasp Soviet "anti-Zionism" and how it permeates chunks of the Left, or even a genuine heartfelt solidarity with the Palestinians, etc.

Those are but a few possibilities, and there are probably more.

Now anyone moderately rational would see that lopsidedness could have several causes, not just one, as indicated by Elf's statement, but it highlights the problem that a few simple words could so easily be misconstrued and a whole sequence extrapolated from that error.

Finally, and I would like no "anti-Zionists" to misunderstand my point, when you expressly put yourself against something be it, anti-religious, anti-a particular country, or anti-a certain idea, then it is incumbent on you to logically and **objectively** explain the criteria for your choice. That is if you are rational.

Because until you do that there is always the potential assumption that your anti-position, is not motivated by the best of intentions but possibly by some prejudice, chip on your shoulder, pet loathing or irrational grudge.

Of course, as an "anti-Zionist", you might not see it like that but that's how it comes over.

bob said...

As a general rule of thumb, I tend not to read discussion threads of more than a dozen, at most two dozen, comments. The returns diminish rapidly. And the readership presumably diminishes too (especially on a Z-list blog like this one), making it self-indulgent to participate. Sometimes, genuine debates open up, where people are actually interested in arguing something through, in learning from each other. But more often this is not the case. However, as this is my blog, I'm kind of duty-bound to at least read the comments, and as my personal integrity has been questioned, and as some of my most basic political positions have been either misunderstood or misrepresented, I feel committed to join in. Unfortunately, the timing has not been good for me. You'll notice that my blogging output in the month of April has been 4 posts (compared to, say, 28 at Jews sans Frontieres): I have lots of other things to do. So, apologies for my slow responses. I'm out and about today, but I'll try and find an internet cafe at lunchtime, as I have now read the whole of this thread, and have several things to say!

On the last couple of comments, Modernity is certainly not my spokesperson, but I agree with every word of his last comment.

Evildoer, nationalism may be "popular", but that doesn't mean it is in the interests of the working class or other oppressed people. Lots of ideologies are embraced by the little folks, but that don't make em emancipatory. Your idea of "liberation" is also thin. Being "liberated" from an external oppressor does not make you free, as we can see in postcolonial Africa. And the notion of always deferring to the "oppressed" (or, rather, in reality, their bourgeois leaders) in defining what the problem and solution is, is pathetic. We should provide practical solidarity when they are resisting oppression, but never unconditionally support the demands of reactionary leaderships.

Finally, Anarchists Against The Wall are not, to my mind, de facto pro-nationalist (although I am willing to be persuaded otherwise on this, as I have only read a little of their material). Their naming is quite clever: it forestalls any support for state-based "liberation" while being clear that it is against the specific, concrete (literally in this case) experience of oppression. In the UK, the No War But The Class War groups have been a good example of how to be against one's own government without being de facto "for" the reactionary thugs on the other side. That's, I think, the sort of thing WS is talking about - although I am not his spokesperson either. ("His"? that's another assumption.)

By the way, WS, I hate to bloat this thread further, but what was your view of the "British jobs" wildcat strikes?

Evildoer said...

Evildoer, nationalism may be "popular", but that doesn't mean it is in the interests of the working class or other oppressed people.You are trying to make life simple for yourself by flattening up "nationalism." Can you explain to me how concrete struggles that are de facto supported by nationalists and that most people join them out of nationalist conviction, for example, the struggle against land expropriation, are "not in the interest" of Palestinians?

Anarchists Against The Wall are not, to my mind, de facto pro-nationalist (although I am willing to be persuaded otherwise on this, as I have only read a little of their material).This is not about "their material," it is about what they are doing and who they are doing it with. If they refused to work with Palestinian nationalists or support their struggle they would have to stay home, as you do. I never said you have to become a nationalist.

And the notion of always deferring to the "oppressed" (or, rather, in reality, their bourgeois leaders) in defining what the problem and solution is, is pathetic. We should provide practical solidarity when they are resisting oppression, but never unconditionally support the demands of reactionary leaderships.
What "demands" of the reactionary "hamas" leadership you specifically refuse to support? Do you oppose their demand to end the siege, open the borders, not burn Palestinians with white phosphorous, recognize the result of elections?

bob said...

Can you explain to me how concrete struggles that are de facto supported by nationalists and that most people join them out of nationalist conviction, for example, the struggle against land expropriation, are "not in the interest" of Palestinians?The struggle against land expropriation, against the demolition of unrecognised villages, against the wall, against the brutality of occupation, against settlements, etc - these struggles, which I support, are not nationalist struggles. They are struggles over real, important issues. In contrast, nationalist struggles, such as for the "right" of Palestinians to be ruled by this set of theocratic maniacs or that set of corrupt authoritarians, or for the "right" to drive the Jews into the sea, are NOT in the interests of ordinary Palestinians.

Anarchists Against The Wall... This is not about "their material," it is about what they are doing and who they are doing it with. If they refused to work with Palestinian nationalists or support their struggle they would have to stay home, as you do. I never said you have to become a nationalist.Sorry, no, it is not just about the content of their "material"; I also meant I had not read enough about what they actually do, so I am not confident about what I am saying about them. On the sort of day to day struggles that I mentioned above (against the wall, against the uprooting of orchards, etc), a principled position would be to work with whoever is working on the ground to address that, in a practical non-sectarian way. Obviously, this might mean working with nationalists, with theocrats, etc. But if those nationalists and theocrats, etc, started using the day to day campaign as mainly a platform for articulating demands for national domination, say, or for Islamic law, then a principled person would reject that.

What "demands" of the reactionary "hamas" leadership you specifically refuse to support? Do you oppose their demand to end the siege, open the borders, not burn Palestinians with white phosphorous, recognize the result of elections? It should be obvious to you that opening the borders is something I call for, that the use of white phosphorous is wrong. When Hamas says this, I don't disagree with Hamas. If all Hamas was was a nice human rights organisation, I'd support them, as I support other Palestinian human rights organisations. But they are not. The Hamas Charter is pretty unambiguous. I cannot possibly support the demands of Hamas as st out in the Charter. and no can anyone with any working moral compass, let alone anyone who claims to care about the oppressed or who claims to take a class analysis.

I'm running late now, back later.

Evildoer said...

Bob,
you are working yourself up about imaginary issues that only exist in the mind of a special section of formerly left, presently supporting apartheid pundits.

It is nice of you to define the concrete struggle that you support as not nationalist, but surely you must be aware that nationalists do see them as nationalist struggles.

nationalist struggles, such as for the "right" of Palestinians to be ruled by this set of theocratic maniacs or that set of corrupt authoritarians, or for the "right" to drive the Jews into the sea, are NOT in the interests of ordinary Palestinians.Of course not, and neither I nor anyone I am in touch with supports these goals. So what exactly is your problem? Who are you ranting against?

The closet I came to your rant is say the Palestinians have a right to chose their representatives. Let's agree that we don't have to like their choices and they can make choices that we may think suck. Who do you think SHOULD have the right to chose the Palestinian representatives with which other states should interact?

But if those nationalists and theocrats, etc, started using the day to day campaign as mainly a platform for articulating demands for national domination, say, or for Islamic law, then a principled person would reject that.And your point is?... who are you arguing against?

Bob said...

E- Who am I ranting against? I am "ranting" against anyone who supports Hamas (or Hezbollah, or any other reactionary nationalist outfit that claims to represent "the Palestinians") either because it is supposed to represen the national aspirations of the Palestinian people or because it is considered part of the anti-imperialist struggle. I am "ranting" against anyone who supports any conceptin of Palestinian national liberation without supporting Jewish national self-determination. I am "ranting" againt anyone who thinks that the nationalist prism is the correct prism through which to view this particular issue. If you are not one of those people, then I am not ranting against you!

---

I hoped to have time today to say something about the earlier issues on this obese thread, but I don't and probably won't have time before Monday, so please don't interpret my silence over the weekend as some kind of admission I am utterly lacking in personal integrity. There were three big points I wanted to make: that nationality (as a legal construct) and nationhood (as understood by nationalist movements) are not the same thing; that Israel differs from other nation-states in kind (rather than degree) ONLY in its involvement of its diaspora BUT that this is not IN ITSELF an indictment of it (altho it is to the extent this involvement is at the cost of Palestinians); that in all other ways Israel is an extreme case of the logic of nation-states. None of these points should be construed as "defences" of Israel, even if, in this case, they are articulated in opposition to criticism of Israel. See you all next week.

nwo said...

1. NWO 9 April. I am against all identity politics, not for its extension to whites. I do value the white working class, but not as “male, Christian and English”. Incidentally, I don’t understand the logic, shared by some Harryists (and perhaps by Jogo) that the white nationalist right is strengthened by (liberals) “vilifying” white people, while the Islamic right is strengthened by (liberals) not vilifying Muslims enough. --- Bob


Your making a false analogy. White people, English, males, are not the equivalent of Islam, an ideology.

A more correct comparison would be Christianity and Islam. And even there the Western Left gets a fail, generally.

None of those groups is the threat to human rights and liberty that the large and quickly growign immigrant Islamic population is.

And furthermore, it doesnt matter that you in particular dont support identity politics, that is the game that dominates, and was developed by the Western Left to attack the institutions and Western status quo. So not playing it and playing hardball to win, is effectively a nihilist position, which (as has been shown) will necessarily lead to the railroading(oppression, discrimination, and ill treatment) of those who dont or arent allowed to play.

It not a matter of what is right or wrong, but what is. That the Western Left created this game and use it to their own political purposes is to their eternal shame. I dont particularly like it either, but bitching about it doesnt do a damn thing. Time to organize and fight for our groups empowerment, fair treatment, and well being.

I dont see the Western Left denouncing identity politics en masse, do you?

Levi9909 said...

Vildechaye - I didn't say that zionists caused or were responsible for the holocaust. I said, contrary to Isaac Deutscher's assertion, that more Jews died in the holocaust because of the collaboration of different branches of the zionist movement with the nazis than would have died without that collaboration.

Holocaust deniers aren't part of the discussion because holocaust deniers deny the holocaust. I believe that without the collaboration of the zionist movement, other things being equal, more Jews would have escaped from nazi Germany before 1938/9 than actually did and that was because of the Transfer or ha'avara agreement. Look it up, there are whole books about it and not all by anti-zionists.

The collaboration of zionists in Hungary in 1944 also led to more Jews being killed than would otherwise have been the case.

Look vildechaye - I am not a zionist. I believe that Israel, based as it is on colonial settlement, ethnic cleansing and racist laws, should not exist as a state specially for Jews but that it should be for all of its people.

That's it, that's all. You say that Israel is special on account of the suffering of Jews in the past. I am saying it does indeed make itself special but its specialness cannot be justified by reference to the past. We all have to be bound by roughly the same rules or rules that yield roughly the same outcome. Israel isn't bound by any rules that apply to any other state today. Plenty from yesterday but not today.

But you don't have to invent arguments on my part. My position is clear.

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