Friday, May 01, 2009

Leonard Cohen, Antisemitism and Neverthelessery

Three via Engage:

1. Jonathan Freedland on the boycotters' ignorant exhortation to Leonard Cohen not to go to Israel. Interestingly, Chris from Cafe Crema is a big fan of Leonard Cohen, who is also featured by my fellow "contrarian" Poumista here.

2. Norman Geras on the "It doesn't matter if criticism of and attitudes to Israel are anti-Semitic, so long as they are also anti-Zionist" attitude, as expressed by various Guardianistas.

3. David T takes up the theme, describing it as "neverthelessery", and uses it to argue for a re-founding of the anti-racist movement. Extract (some hyperlinks added):

There are some who are prominent within anti-Zionism who are also opponents of anti-semitism. Andy Newman, and even George Galloway, have been fierce in their condemnation of anti-Jewish racism. Yet, when it comes to the crunch, they’re enthusiastic “neverthelessers”. You can’t cheer on Hamas - hand money over to Hamas, even - but either ignore or attempt to explain away their genocidal antisemitism, and still claim to be an anti-racist.

This, incidentally, is why a new anti-racist politics - one that will never, ever tolerate strategic racism - is more vital now, than ever.

Pic from NYT, h/t Graeme.
See also Martin M.

5 comments:

Graeme said...

re: the Freedland article about Leonard Cohen--Cohen still observes the Sabbath even when he's touring (source here).

bob said...

That's a cool hat he's wearing in the pic in the NYT article. Am stealing it for the post.

ModernityBlog said...

bob, but couldn't that be a new variation of an old theme, so instead of them saying "some of my best friends are...", what you'll hear is "Of course, I like Leonard Cohen, but and this is a big but..." etc :(

Renegade Eye said...

It is absurd to think anything is gained from Leonard Cohen not going to Israel, or a modern dance concert cancelled. The boycott of Israel only hurts workers and the left.

Bob said...

RE- Yes, totally counter-productive. I can see an argument for, arms divestment, but the boycotters seem to target the spaces in Israeli civil society that are surely those we should be supporting: the arts and academic sectors, where the pro-peace voices most flourish.