Thursday, November 05, 2009

In Pol Pot time

LRB subscribers, please read this excellent piece by Joshua Kurlantzick on the trials in Cambodia of the some of the former Khmer Rouge genocidaires. The piece is marred slightly by this minor Chomskyism:
"it's unlikely the tribunal will provide much of an answer, so narrow is its scope... the trial focuses only on the years 1975-79 themselves; the American bombings of Cambodia, beginning in 1969, which devastated the countryside and created the instability that helped the Khmer Rouge seize power, is not mentioned."
Now, it is true the bombings helped create the conditions for genocide. And it is also true that the bombings were evil, and that there is a case to be made that they were war crimes, for which the US ought to be prosecuted, and indeed that the US involvement in Vietnam of which these bombings form a part was marked by a series of other air-borne atrocities of which the US ought to be deeply ashamed. However, America in carrying out those bombings is not responsible for the genocide which Pol Pot and his regime carried out, namely the slaughter by hand (mainly by bashing in the skulls of the victims, as Kurlantzick notes), of over a fifth of Cambodia's population.

To widen the tribunal to include the American bombings would deflect moral and political attention away from the actual crime at hand. To insist on contextualising genocide in this way, on explaining it away, is ethically and intellectually reprehensible, akin to the conservative revisionists of German history attempt to explain away the Holocaust by reference to the shameful terms of Versailles.

(On the other hand, America, with its ally China, did aid and abet these crimes by supporting the Khmer Rouge regime during the 1975-1979 period. This disgraceful fact is compounded by its spiteful refusal to recognise the People's Republic of Kampuchea, and insistence instead on recognising the Khmer Rouge and its allies as the legitimate government.)

Other things you should read in the LRB: ‘I am not a speck of dirt, I am a retired teacher’ - Ervand Abrahamian writes about the protests in Iran; Rape-rape - Jenny Diski; On Being a Social Worker - Hilary Mantel; Back to school - Jenny Diski.

Previous: The hitch and Cambodia; Genocidal stalinism in Cambodia, apologists in the west; What's wrong with Chomsky?

80 comments:

Levi9909 said...

In the piece you quote, Kurlantzick doesn't actually say that America was responsible for the Khmer Rouge's genocidal campaign, simply for creating the conditions that enabled them to seize power.

It is actually you that says, "it is true the bombings helped create the conditions for genocide".

I don't know why you can't just point people to an article without resorting to dishonesty. Perhaps you needed to lie to make the gratuitous swipe at Chomsky work.

bob said...

It is true that Kurlantzick does not say that America was directly responsible for the Khmer Rouge genocide. But he is calling, isn't he?, for the tribunal to be widened to take the bombings into its remit. I think this would be completely wrong, for the reasons I hope I make clear in the article.

As for Chomsky, his position is more extreme. He (and Herman) describe the bombings as "Phase 1" in a two-phase genocide. As late as 1988, in Manufacturing Consent, they put the death toll of "Phase 2" (i.e. the actual genocide) at "about 750,000", while most (e.g. Amnesty International) agree the numbers were closer to 2 million. Just to be clear, this does not make Chomsky an apologist for Pol Pot, as some of his critics have claimed, but it raises questions.

Levi9909 said...

I see what you're saying. Native genocidaires should be convicted whereas imperialists shouldn't even be accused. Thanks for the clarification.

But the fact remains that Kurlantzick didn't say what you accused him of saying. Rather than looking for excuses for swiping at Chomsky, you might try a free-standing non-derivative critique, drawing on primary sources rather than Oliver Kamm of all people, especially given your past record of intellectual dishonesty.

The Contentious Centrist said...

Levi much be bored stiff with all those nodding heads on his blog so he is trying to do what bored and boring bullies do when they crave any attention: pick up fights, get some of his congealed adrenalin flowing, Bob.

How do I know about the sorry state of his adrenalin? I went snooping around at his place some days ago and found my name mentioned there. I got a kick out of being important enough to merit his leviness' bilious aspersions. I mean, really, how much more pathetic can a Marxist Pacifist anti-Zionist anti-war activist get?

bob said...

Well, I'm glad to help anything congealed start to flow...

No, I am not saying "Native genocidaires should be convicted whereas imperialists shouldn't even be accused." I think that there are things America did during the Vietnam war that should probably lead to war crime indictments, and I do see that conflict as basically an imperialist one. But I don't think that those crimes should be the object of this particular tribunal. To bring into this particular case the (atrocious but not genocidal) 1969-75 bombings would only deflect attention away from the crime at hand, which is of a radically different order. I believe that Kurlantzick is actually saying that the tribunal ought to consider this, as he says that the tribunal's scope is too narrow to really address the crimes. On the other hand, which you could infer from what I wrote in brackets in the post altho I didn't spell it out, that there the tribunal ought to hear about the fact that Pol Pot's regime was propped up by America and China.

This post was never meant to be about Chomsky, but I am happy to argue about Chomsky. My interest in this issue goes back a time before I even heard of Chomsky, when I was a kid and was deeply affected by John Pilger's dispatches from the killing fields.

I do not know what Kamm says about Chomsky's position on Cambodia, but if you click the first link at the bottom of the post, the one called "The hitch and Cambodia", you will see that it is free-standing and hopefully non-derivative criticism (critique would be too strong a word) of Kamm.

For a free-standing and hopefully non-derivative criticism (maybe critique) of Chomsky, click on the last one "What's wrong with Chomsky?" which does cite Kamm, but in relation to Bosnia.

I hope, Levi, you are not going come back and call me a liar again, because you read Kurlantzick differently from how I do. If I'm misreading him, I apologise, but I've presented his words for other people to judge, and I would genuinely recommend the article despite this, as I said, minor quibble.

I also have a minor quibble, by the way, with the Ervand Abrahamian article I also recommended. Abrahamian claims that Israel welcomed Ahmadinejad's re-election, which is patently untrue (see e.g. VOA). I'm also happy to argue about that if it gets anything congealed running.

bob said...

Just had a brief glance at Jews sans Frontiers, and found this in a comments thread:

bob smears chomsky and the writer of an lrb article on pol pot etc. i don't know why these people are so keen to pose as leftists and supporters of the two state solution. chomsky and finkelstein both suppport the TSS and chomsky is even anti-BDS. it must be the serious criticism of Israel and the US that they object to.

I wrote:

?? I don't get you. (1) The post you're talking about only mentions Chomsky in passing. (2) As I said last time I visited, I believe in a one state solution. (3) I don't care whether I come across as a leftist or not. What does leftist mean these days? (4) The post you refer to is also critical of America, although I do see Chomsky's attitude towards America as problematic. See no.4 here.(5) Is it Chomsky's views on Israel that bother me? No, not really. This is the only thing I've ever written about Chomsky's views on Israel. (6)What has Finkelstein got to do with it?

On the other hand, I am glad that I was able to supply you with some laughs, and am sorry that the Davids are currently unable to do so.

Anonymous said...

One state, Bob? Slightly less escapist than your former no-state position, certainly (when did you decide to change?). And which one state - Gaza and Egypt? West Bank and Jordan? Or are you more of the settlers and Hamas maximalist persuasion? Or are you just trying to earn the right to be heard by Mark's readers?

Well said, Noga. It's so revealing, people accusing other people of not attending to imperialism, while turning a blind eye to China on their own blogs.

bob said...

OK, I believe in a no state solution in a world of no states, but it hardly seems fair for Is/Pal to go first! Failing that, then, an Israel/Palestine with right of return for Jews, a right of return for Palestinian refugees, and justice and equality between them. Utopian, yes, but without that horizon we remain locked in a logic that has no hope.

Anonymous said...

Nope, don't understand at all. Why is it any less visionary to propose uniting Gaza and Egypt, Jordan and the West Bank?

Levi9909 said...

Bob - What is this contentious centrist character for exactly? Do you know? Does s/he ever offer anything that could pass for argument?

Ah yes, I remember s/he tried to make out that the Palestinians' right of return to where they came from equates with the zionists' right to carry out an ethnic cleansing campaign and for Jews from anywhere to settle in Palestine whilst denying that right to the Palestinians. S/he then said that s/he had lots of arguments against my argument that Israel is the worst kind of state but that s/he wouldn't (or was it couldn't?) share them so s/he resorted to gratuitous insults instead.

Now I see CC doing the same thing again (except without even an attempt at argument) and you resorting to your discredited line that Israel is just another state and that you would like all states abolished whilst forgetting to mention that you will remain an apologist for the most powerful states and the worst of them all (Israel) in the meantime.

Anyway, since you have now commented at my blog and Gabriel is all over it, it's better to continue the discussion there. I don't allow gratuitous abuse, even of people I disagree with. I don't mind abuse per se, as you know, but it must be accompanied by argument or at least mean something (like Mooser calling you reactionary). CC fails at that, again, as you know.

PS - what do you mean by the right of return (to Palestine) for Jews? If people that come from Palestine have the right of return then that includes Jews. If you are saying that Jews from anywhere should still have a special right to settle that others do not have, unless they really do come from there, then why should that be? Or do you mean that everyone should have the right to return to where they have come from regardless of whether they come from Palestine or not? If so, why single out Jews? I can't speculate any more as to what you meant so go ahead and explain a)what you meant and b) why Jews are a special case that need special mention.

Levi9909 said...

woops, I meant, "If people that come from Palestine have the right of return then that includes Jews that come from Palestine.

bob said...

I've replied to Gabriel at JsF on the Chomsky/Cambodia issue, currently awaiting moderation. I didn't apply to the non-gratuitous insults of Mooser and Gert:
Broccoli Bob: Leftist? Attacks on the LRB really are the preserve of the intellectual part of Daily Mail readers, Mad Mellians etc.

Poor Bob, compulsive eclecticism can be a real slog for a guy who is a reactionary at heart.


I'm not sure why they find it so threatening that people who don't agree with Melanie Phillips might have something bad to say about the London Review of Books...

On the right of return: as regular readers will no, I tend towards a no borders/no one is illegal type of line: I am for the free movement of people in general. I see the return of Jews to Eretz Israel in the context of the persecution they have suffered in the rest of the world, and of the deep-seated cultural tradition of longing for "next year in Jerusalem", even though most Jews still prefer to make a home in the diaspora.

The Contentious Centrist said...

Levi seems confused and babbling. It is possible that I commented on his blog once or twice. I think he linked to my blog when I wrote about Sari Nusseibeh. Apparently he considered my arguments, then, eminently reasonable. Until he realized that I apply the same yardstick to both Jews and Palestinians when it comes to reclaiming their past possessions. In my dictionary, Palestinian rights are not the equivalent of "human rights". Jews are just as human, even those hated religious settlers, by the way. Genuinely decent people recognize this very simple principle and have no problem articulating it, clearly.

I remain convinced that Levi is suffering from terminal boredom. He seems almost desperate for a conversation with actually thinking minds. Hence he keeps haunting your blog, Bob. I notice he toned down his ad homs towards you, which is a good sign that there may have been a budge in the tightness:

"Bear began to sigh, and then found he couldn't because
he was so tightly stuck; and a tear rolled down his eye, as he
said:

"Then would you read a Sustaining Book, such as would
help and comfort a Wedged Bear in Great Tightness?" So for a
week Christopher Robin read that sort of book at the North end
of Pooh, and Rabbit hung his washing on the South end... and in
between Bear felt himself getting slenderer and slenderer. And
at the end of the week Christopher Robin said, "Now!"

So he took hold of Pooh's front paws and Rabbit took
hold of Christopher Robin, and all Rabbit's friends and
relations took hold of Rabbit, and they all pulled together....

And for a long time Pooh only said "Ow!" . . .

And "Oh!" . . .

And then, all of a sudden, he said "Pop!" just as if a
cork were coming out of bottle.

And Christopher Robin and Rabbit and all Rabbit's
friends and relations went head-over-heels backwards . . . and
on the top of them came Winnie-the-Pooh -- free!"

Levi9909 said...

Referring to Jews settling "eretz Israel" as "returning" in the same comment as the Palestinians' right to return is making out that the conflict between the Palestinians and the zionist movement is 6 of one and half a dozen of the other. It is also suggesting that Jews in general come from there in the first place and that Jews have special rights that others do not have. That is, overall, a racist position and doesn't quite tally with a no borders/no one is illegal position. If you are saying that everyone should have freedom of movement then there was no need to mention Jews at all. The problem with that position in the context of Palestine is that it conceals the special harm that has been meted out to the Palestinians by the racist war criminals of the State of Israel. It is a purely sterile position that conceals more than it reveals.

I didn't think gert and mooser's comments were entirely gratuitous. Contentious centrist's one aimed at me was both gratuitous and false. I know it's not nice me calling you, for example, dishonest, but that is how you come across and you do make assertions you know to be false. That is dishonest. But for someone to call me a bully over a comment on your blog is ridiculous particularly when you consider that you link (presumably approvingly) to Engage and Harry's Place where dissenting debate is nigh on impossible and where even denunciations of anti-boycott Israel critics tend to go viral - I'm thinking of Hirsh's discussions with Martin Shaw and his posts on Antony Lerman.

Obviously, getting bullied on your own blog, particularly when you have zionist trolls in the wings, is impossible. And at my blog gratuitous abuse is at least frowned upon and doesn't usually get allowed. It's not just me moderating these days so no promises.

I think you need to consider the point that anti-zionists are swimming against a tide of establishment and mainstream media support for Israel whereas the legions of blogs that support Israel are going with the establishment flow. I think that oppositionists are more entitled to their exasperation which may often come across as gratuitous abuse, than people, like yourself, whose tendency is towards the editorial position of the mainstream media. The former's quips take the form of shorthand critique against comments that are considered unworthy of discussion, the latter's yet another way of stifling debate. Last time I was here, Contentious centrist even proposed that I be barred for repetition of points that no one had addressed and that s/he and Modernity blog (et al) were trying to conceal between dross and bile.

ps - If contentious centrist wants to see a real life example of an attempt at bullying a blogger, s/he can read this.

The Contentious Centrist said...

"I think you need to consider the point that anti-zionists are swimming against a tide of establishment and mainstream media support for Israel whereas the legions of blogs that support Israel are going with the establishment flow."

Ah. This is a rare instant of what I suspect is unintended honest insight from the Levi. He fancies himself a dissenter, in the romantic tradition of all dissenters. Here is what Anthony Julius said about such pretensions:

"[it is a]kind of political posturing by people who don't expose themselves to any real danger, but are attracted to the glamour, the reputation at any rate, of being freedom fighters risking their lives in a noble cause. It's trivial, inconsequential stuff, the material really of vanity and self-regard, and nothing more than that."

Reminds me of a recent post from the Obi Wan of the blogosphere:

"Commentators like Oliver Kamm, with whom Chomsky is not so popular, with whom, indeed, Pop Noam is anything but Chomskular, should be keel-hauled and derided to the tiniest hair on their bonces. It is a scandal and abomination that this tower of wisdom, this celebrity celebrated throughout the world, should be so overlooked and marginalized, his popularity so underrated and unbuilt upon."

http://normblog.typepad.com/normblog/2009/11/his-popularity-ignored.html

Where you find swarms of one-staters and no-staters and No Jewish-staters crowding the Internet and the media, eagerly seeking to demonize and dehumanize Israeli Jews and their supporters, with their emetic anti-racist anti-war antisemitism, Levi whines that he is "swimming against a tide of establishment and mainstream media. "

In other words, this is in and of itself a good and valid reason to advocate for the destruction of Israel: it is such an unpopular position it is simply irresistible! He gets to pretend he is right there, next to the Bielsky brothers, in their fight against the Nazis, what do you know.

Come clean, now, Levi, tell us: do you want to be brought in from that cold wasteland of poor marginalized dissenters who know best what real justice means?? Have you ever articulated a principle of justice according to which a Jew will not be stripped of this most fundamental rights of self determination and freedom?

What can be the reason for this relentless pursuit of taking away from Jews what is freely ceded to the Arabs?

"The intriguing research out of Haifa suggests that Jews may very well be inherently altruistic. But while exhibiting more sensitivity to another group's pain is one thing, embracing the goals of people openly committed to one's destruction is a form of madness.

So here's my ultimate theory for the cause of this nefarious virus: Jew Flu is a condition in which being "more sensitive to pain suffered by members of a group other than (one's) own metastasizes into a malignant emotional and moral identification with people committed to (one's) annihilation."

http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/1127159.html

bob said...

CC, I love the Normblog post, which sums it up so well. What is "mainstream" these days, and what is "dissent"? Noam Chomsky is a global brand with a net worth north of $2,000,000 in 2005 (although now his book income goes to the Diane Chomsky Irrevocable Trust so that redistributive justice doesn't get its hands on his taxes), but he gets nothing but silence in the American media. Jimmy Carter sells books in the thousands and got about a million dollars as his Nobel prize money, but is apparently silenced by the all-powerful Israel lobby. The BBC gushes over Shlomo Sands' book, but he is also silenced by the Israel lobby. And so on.

I don't know and don't care whether I swim with the tide or against it. Among most of my friends, it's quite acceptable to describe Gaza as the new Warsaw Ghetto; most of my colleagues believe in boycotts, divestment and sanctions for Israel. That's probably why I hang out at Engage and with people like Contentious Centrist. Maybe if I lived in Hendon I'd spend more time at Jews sans F.

I link to Engage and Harry's Place, because I agree with a lot of what they say. I also link to the Jewish Socialist Group, to David Rosenberg's website, to his sons' website, to the New Left Review and London Review of Books, Renegade Eye and Socialist Unity. When I first started blogging, I am ashamed to admit, Lenin's Tomb was on my blogroll. So piegonhole me however you like.

On the right of return. I don't know or care whether "Jews in general come from" there or not, because I don't believe in racial destiny and genetic rootsy-ness. Jews are Jews, for me, by virtue of the culture, of the practices, of the stories, and Eretz Israel is central to these, just as Dinetah is central to Navajo culture even if genetic science says they only got there is 1000 CE.

I don't place the Jewish right of return above others' similar rights (I have, for example, over the years, been involved in parallel struggles in relation to various native American "nations", but Eretz Israel resonates for me emotionally for cultural reasons, just as Cambodia resonates with me in a special way for personal reasons I won't go into here, whereas Australian aboriginal rights, say, feature fairly low in my consciousness because I've never had occasion to be touched by them. I expect that makes me racist in the eyes of some anti-ethnocentrists, or tribal or something. Certainly, it shows me to be limited. But it no more so than the Jew flu CC mentions, the inverse tribalism of Palestine-obsessed Jews, for whom Palestinian rights seem more important than any other oppressed peoples'.

I also give something of a higher priority to the Jewish right to return than the freedom of movement of some other folks because the Jewish experience of the world has been particularly bad. For similar reasons, I put more energy into defending the rights of, say, Tamil asylum seekers than of footloose finance sector high fliers who come to London to work in the City, even though a No Borders position technically encompasses them equally.

Sorry, quite tired now after a long week, so that may or may not make any sense.

ModernityBlog said...

Bob,

Doesn't your exchange with Elf demonstrate what I had said previously concerning JSF?

You're wasting your breath, no matter what you say, he would disagree, that's his modus operandi.

You'll get more sense out of a dead Budgie.

fleshisgrass said...

This thread had quite an effect on me. I was shopping online for a birthday present for my mum. Inspiration eluded me for about twenty minutes. I came here and read this thread. My Mum would have been upset by it (with the exception of Noga). I went straight to the Jewish National Fund and got my mum a tree. The JNF told me Israel's my place - I found myself thinking "Good - I'll put down some roots".

Levi9909 said...

Bob - you cannot know much Jewish history if all you can do is take the horrors and assert that they justify Jewish supremacy in our time.

You completely ignore the times and places over the last 2,000 years when Jews, at the interface with non-Jews, were privileged. You also ignore the suffering of Jews caused by Jews, the suffering of non-Jews caused by Jews and the suffering of non-Jews caused by non-Jews. But your bottom line is that Jews, including yourself, regardless of time or place, are special. This is racism, Bob, and if you can't see how repugnant others will find this without hunting for ulterior motives on their part then you have a serious intellectual and moral deficiency.

CC - I could only find one reference to your blog on my blog and that was when you "clarified" the use of the word shoah in the context of Israel's intentions towards the Gaza population.

Re why I (and others) are anti-zionist, why can it not just be accepted that there will always be people that find states that are established on principles of ethno-religious supremacy, ethnic cleansing and segregation to be repugnant? This counts double when they are backed by the most powerful forces on the planet. You seem to have this inability to argue substantive points.

For a QC like Anthony Julius to join in with the sheer intellectual dishonesty of attributing to Jewish critics of Israel motives apart from those claimed by the critics just goes to show the moral and intellectual abyss that zionism seeks to drag Jews into. In fact I know of no other ideology or project for its adherents to misrepresent every substantive point about itself, its critics and its victims.

Modernity Blog is even worse than Bob and CC of course. His only sign of sense of any kind is that he maintains his anonymity. Cowardly but sensible.

I have yet to see him even pretend to make a case for or against anything. I even commented on his latest blog post where he seems to be suggesting that to argue against Jewish ethnic purity - ie to say what Bob is saying only factoring in the Khazar hypothesis (which you can find on the WZO website) is the preserve of the "far right" which he claims is always antisemitic. That last point ignores the fact that zionism is itself an intrinsically hard right ideology and project - unless of course you accept that zionism itself represents a manifestation of antisemitism which I don't think MB, CC nor Bob are ready to admit to just yet.

Fleshisgrass - good idea planting trees in Palestine. You can replace the trees that the Israeli army and the settlers have uprooted and you can try to cover the Arab villages that Israel has ethnically cleansed and razed. I not sure if the former counts as an environmental trade off and the latter isn't helping much either. Ethnic cleansing isn't exactly Israel's best kept secret.

ModernityBlog said...

Bob,

I am afraid that you are finding out the hard way, why Elf is in no way amenable to reason.

He use to call himself a socialist, and yet he is completely ignorant of the Far Right methodologies.

Elf is seemingly comfortable, with their thesis on the Khazars, he can't see why it would be used to delegitimise the very existence of Jews.

Elf doesn't see the problem, and that's yet another reason to ponder how worthwhile it is to have an exchange of view with him.

It doesn't matter whatever you write Elf will happily get the wrong end of the stick, and misinterpret 98% of what you say.

Levi9909 said...

Sorry Bob I missed some of that stuff about "emotional resonance" or whatever re Palestine. You have flagrantly lied to place Israel with other states that do not bear comparison with Israel. You have also shown that you are not averse to the ad hominem attacks that characterise most zionist discourse on the critics of zionism. Even your reference to obsessiveness on the part of Israel's critics but not its supporters is an ad hominem attack of the kind that you claim you have been subjected to. With this you undermine Israel's critics and you are deliberately and dishonestly refusing to see just why it is that Israel occupies (no pun intended) a special place in the campaign priorities of liberals and leftists.

BTW - Your implication that there is no Israel lobby succeeding at silencing criticism of Israel in the mainstream media is as dishonest as anything you have written. Anti-zionist arguments receive nothing like the prominence in the media as zionist ones and the BBC has written to a friend of mine just recently to say that they have no intention of ever exposing the ethnocratic nature of the State of Israel because the "international community" is not addressing that as an issue. Further, uniquely, Jimmy Carter was the first and only former president to be excluded from the Democrat rally following Obama's victory against Hilary Clinton. Nothing to do with Israel of course.

In the UK media the two most Israel critical newspapers (Independent and Guardian) both have explicitly zionist editorial policies regarding Palestine. The Guardian has had two anti-zionist articles in all the time I have been reading it since the late seventies and the Independent has had one. The rest of the mainstream media - that you now ludicrously claim doesn't exist - don't allow anti-zionist arguments at all and even a zionist journalist - Sam Kiley - had to leave the Times in disgust at its suppression of the story of the killing of Mohamed al Durra.

Without resorting to innuendo, are you seriously suggesting that an Israel lobby does not suppress anti-zionist arguments and criticism of Israel? If you are that is yet another example of your dishonesty in the service of racist war criminals.

But I should hand it to you for coming close to admitting that the emotional resonance that Israel has for you blinds you to some of the issues both in terms of the nature and behaviour of Israel and your approach to its critics. I think you need to go the whole hog and just admit outright that your commitment to Jewish supremacy has made you as dishonest and as racist as any of Israel's supporters and that henceforth you will at least ditch the dishonesty. You might even feel better for it.

Re your nonsense that "mainstream" and "dissent" have become meaningless, just as an example, take a look at the postal dispute in the UK. Have you really heard as much from the union as from the employers? I only found out what the union's position was from my own postman. I find a similar thing whenever there is a strike with national impact. The employers tend to get their position over to the public while the union is mostly silenced. But what are unions these days, eh Bob? What are employers? Six of one, half a dozen of the other.

I mention this because it shows what a slippery slope you slide down when "emotional resonance" gets the better of you.

The Contentious Centrist said...

"You completely ignore the times and places over the last 2,000 years when Jews, at the interface with non-Jews, were privileged. You also ignore the suffering of Jews caused by Jews, the suffering of non-Jews caused by Jews and the suffering of non-Jews caused by non-Jews."

Jews indeed were privileged. In order to survive they needed to be protected by the king's favour against the incitement of low rank and lay priests of mob frenzy. The king favoured them because he needed their money. Since money was the king's suit, Jews made sure to have enough of it to maintain this precarious "privilege". How precarious we can glimpse when we look at the events that took place in 1391 during which a third of Spanish Jewry were massacred by the mobs and a third were forcibly converted by the inciting priests. So much the privilege of Jewish status.

How Levi can come here and make these outrageous accusations against Jews is not a surprise to me. He follows a certain trend in Jewish history, which I attribute directly to antisemitism, no less rational than the gas chambers. Jews who thought that if they hated other Jews well enough, they would be spared from the contempt of non-Jews towards Jews. Recall Irene Nemirovsky,

"a Jewish writer who owed her success ...in no small measure to her ability to pander to the forces of reaction, to the fascist right. Némirovsky's stories of corrupt Jews – some of them even have hooked noses, no less! – appeared in right-wing periodicals and won her the friendship of her editors, many of whom held positions of power in extreme-right political circles. When the racial laws in 1940 and 1941 cut off her ability to publish, she turned to those connections to seek special favors for herself" (The New Republic). Nemirovsky's efforts of course failed and she perished in the Holocaust alongside all those Jews from whom she spent her career trying to distance and demonize.

Levi also reminds me of another such Jew, Pablo Christiani, a converted Jew, he became a Dominican monk and attempted to ban the Talmud. This converted Jew then went on missionary journeys, compelling the Jews everywhere to listen to his preachings on the Sabbath, in their synagogues, and to answer his questions. Jews were even required to pay for the expenses of his missionary work.

So here is Levi, trying to prove he is a bona fide anarchist-socialist-antiracist-antiZionist anti-ist, as far removed from any Jewishness as he conceivably can muster, and yet he is none but the more recent incarnation of a line of other past Jews, who thought exactly like him and, if I may be so bald as to suggest, ultimately failed. It is also interesting to note that the more he fails the shriller and more garish become his "arguments".

I do pity him. There is no cure for such a broken spirit.

fleshisgrass said...

"He follows a certain trend in Jewish history, which I attribute directly to antisemitism, no less rational than the gas chambers. Jews who thought that if they hated other Jews well enough, they would be spared from the contempt of non-Jews towards Jews."

He needs to read Roth's The Plot Against America. Him, Independent Jewish Voices, JfJfP. What Noga sketches is gruesome, because it is a sign that these Jews feel threatened as Jews and they're shipping out to a new happy valley of ostentatious Jewish virtue which they will contrast against the others. It is an antisemitic response to antisemitism. To ensure that nobody confuses these virtuous Jews for the ordinary Jews and harms them,they are going to defame the ordinary Jews into oblivion. This is Mark's project.

I can't write this off - these people are part of the intelligentsia, with vested interests and an early warning system. So if they think things are getting dangerous, they surely are.

And they won't stand for me, so off I ricochet to the JNF, implicated as they are in displacing Bedouin during a judiciary process over disputed land in the Negev. When support for Israel becomes knowing which side your bread is buttered, you probably may as well move there.

bob said...

The moral of this story is, be careful what you wish for. Just the other day I was noticing how I haven't had so many comments on my blog as I used to, and slightly less hits, and I was thinking how my blogging quality has dropped as I haven't had so much time lately. And then I post something about Cambodia that mentions Chomsky in passing and this happens.

I am not sure why Elf/Levi is so concerned with my "dishonesty". The assumption is that I cannot possibly mean what I say. Why can't he accept that, like most Jews (indeed, like most people not blinded by fanaticism of one sort or another), I have mixed feelings about Israel/Palestine.

Jews sans Frontieres is a site more or less exclusively dedicated to the issue of Israel and "Zionism". I don't see very many posts there about the postal dispute, for example. On my blog, as at Modernity's (where you will find a fair amount about the postal strike), you find an idiosyncratic range of issues, based on personal interests. For me, Israel/Palestine disproportionately occupies space, because I am more interested in it than I am in some other parts of the world. Similarly, I South London occupies more space here than North London, because it is where I live, and I'm emotionally involved in it. Is that racist?

Take a minute to browse through the blog, and you'll find plenty of instances of discussion of all sorts of people oppressing all sorts of other people. This post, for example, is about Khmers oppressing other Khmers, aided and abetted by the Chinese and Americans (including Jewish Americans like Kissinger). Go to JsF, and you find one type of people doing the oppressing: Jews. Why is that?

Historically, Jews are among the many peoples who have experienced some of the worst oppression. Their "privileges", as CC eloquently describe, have been at best highly contingent.

And the "Khazar hypothesis"? The WZO article describes what everyone sane accepts: that there was an ethnically Turkic people who converted to Judaism. The Khazar hypothesis that the far right promote, and surely Elf/Levi actually knows this, is that Ashkenazi Jews, on the whole, are descended from them, and therefore have no national rights. For myself, like Modernity, I don't believe that biology is destiny, and so don't think that the truth or falsehood of the hypothesis (and the overwhelming scholarly consensus is that the hypothesis is tendentious) makes a jot of difference to the rights of the Jews. From an ant-fascist point of view, the dissemination of the hypothesis serves only one purpose: the de-legitimatization of Jewish rights. I can't be bothered, any longer, to ponder on whether Levi/Elf actually really believes the hypothesis.

Mainstream/dissent. Of course there is an "Israel lobby" which tries to portray Israel in a positive light and seeks to refute criticisms of Israel. But that it succeeds in "suppressing" such criticism seems to me so evidently untrue that again I can't see how anyone can think that. Walk into any chain bookshop in London and you will find the books of people like Noam Chomsky and Michael Moore and Naomi Klein prominently displayed, and you will not find pro-Zionist books prominently displayed. In fact, I can't even think of an example of a pro-Zionist book that has received any media splash or anything. I just went to Amazon.co.uk's Middle East section bestsellers list. No.1: Avi Shlaim. In the top 10, we find Walt and Mearsheimer, Idith Zirtal, Noam Chomsky. The most pro-Zionist book there is Tom Segev. And as for the Guardian that Elf/Levi is reading, well, it's obviously a different one from the one I'm reading.

This has probably gone on long enough.

Levi9909 said...

You're right Bob, enough should be enough but your dishonesty has continued into your latest comment and it interests me because you pose it as normality and opposition to it as antisemitism or now "fanaticism".

Regarding the Khazar hypothesis, of course I know it is bandied about by antisemites but it is still irrelevant as to what the rights of Jews are. I wanted to know why Modernity Blog thought that it was intrinsically antisemitic and he eventually admitted that he couldn't explain it. Remember Modernity Blog posted about it to besmirch the Socialist Unity blog as being at one with the likes of Stormfront and Jewwatch.

The nazi position on the Khazar hypothesis is not a bona fide anti-zionist argument, it is that Jews have been lying to the whole world for 1,000 years. You prefer the idea that Jews have been ethnically continuous for 2,000 long suffering years and that this means that Jews are entitled to a state that privileges Jews and ethnically cleanses Palestinians. I think the west has supported the zionist project in so many ways for many decades and that it is worth a blog specialising in the subject to try to expose, albeit in my own small way, the dishonesty of the mainstream (or is it the dissenting?? ffs) media.

I don't know why you zios get into such a flap about criticism of yourselves or of Israel. I don't know a Palestinian that expects to be liberated any time soon. The slaughter of Arabs for being the wrong race in the wrong place will go on for some time and there will be many commentators (yourself included) smearing the critics of that state of affairs while it continues. That being the case, I still think it's important for some people to bear witness to what is going on rather than to muddy the waters with combinations of vicious lies, racism and downright stupidness.

You are slightly perplexing in that you are an intelligent chap who occasionally pretends to be open minded and you must surely see how ridiculous Modernity Blog and CC's comments have been. You know what the mainstream is and you know what dissent is. You also know what it means that dissenting voices are silenced by exclusion from the mainstream or by being swamped in the noise made by the likes of Engage and HP and the aforementioned. And yet you try to intellectualise your racism and your smears before resorting to emotive nonsense. You then say "enough already". You're right Bob, enough already!

bob said...

Modernity is not "smearing" SU or equating them Stormfront. He is drawing attention to a problem on the far left, which is that in its rush to be pro-Palestinian it falls into some of the logics of the far right, often through ignorance.

You will notice that he recommends Andy Newman's "The Hazard of [David] Duke", posted during l'affair Jenna Delich. There, Andy quite rightly says "Being politically naïve is not a shooting offence, and blindness to anti-Semitism is not the same as anti-Semitism." But he also writes: "This illustrates perfectly how the far-right anti-Semites are seeking to exploit and piggy-back on the Palectinian solidarity movement to try to rehabilitate their vile creed.

What is remarkable is why so few left activists are prepared to challenge this, rather than making excuses for it.

It is incumbent upon the left and the Palestinian solidarity movement to both be aware of the conscious effort of far-right Anti-Semites to infiltrate the movement , and also to vigorously oppose and exclude these anti-Semites. Association with the likes of David Duke is extremely damaging for the Palestinian movement."


Those of us, like Modernity and me, who have our home on the left see it as important to raise these issues, not to push "Zionism", but for the left's own sake - or, rather, for the sake of the cause of social justice (e.g., to use your own example, the postal workers in dispute), which is contaminated by the fascist poison that is disseminated within the anti-Zionist movement.

Those in the anti-Zionist movement who seek to apologise for and defend the use of such far right discourse within the movement, rather than honestly reckon with it, are as bad as David Duke.


One other issue, the Khazars. I notice that Mark/Levi still doesn't say whether he believes the "hypothesis", even though he spends a lot of time complaining about Modernity not saying whether he believes it or not. Anyway, I do not believe in the 2000 year racial continuity of the Jews, but I guess I do believe in some kind of ethnic continuity. Shlomo Sands says that the Jewish "people" have been invented recently, but that there has been a Jewish religious "civilisation" all this time. Nationhood is an inherently modern idea, so of course the Jewish "nation" was invented recently (as were all other nations, as Eric Hobsbawm would tell you). But even Sands does not deny that there has been something there, some notion of a Jewish collective, for these 2 millennia, which not many other "peoples" can claim. That does not entitle Jews to dispossess anyone else, but it means the idea of the right of return is not simply some right-wing fantasy.

ModernityBlog said...

Elf wrote:

" I wanted to know why Modernity Blog thought that it was intrinsically antisemitic and he eventually admitted that he couldn't explain it."

Tut, tut, you misunderstood again.

It is not that I couldn't explain, just that I didn't **want** to explain to *you*.

Do you see the difference?

Frankly, I don't have the patience at the moment, and even if I did, I doubt I would be terribly inclined to spoon feed you, Elf.

See the thing is, I know whatever I write, you, Elf, will disagree, that’s your nature.

Bob has explained it succinctly here:

”For myself, like Modernity, I don't believe that biology is destiny, and so don't think that the truth or falsehood of the hypothesis (and the overwhelming scholarly consensus is that the hypothesis is tendentious) makes a jot of difference to the rights of the Jews.

From an ant-fascist point of view, the dissemination of the hypothesis serves only one purpose: the de-legitimatization of Jewish rights. I can't be bothered, any longer, to ponder on whether Levi/Elf actually really believes the hypothesis.”

The Contentious Centrist said...

"The nazi position on the Khazar hypothesis is not a bona fide anti-zionist argument, it is that Jews have been lying to the whole world for 1,000 years. You prefer the idea that Jews have been ethnically continuous for 2,000 long suffering years... "

Perhaps Levi clings to the Khazar theory for his own ethnic reasons. Maybe it is a way for him to say to the Aryans who may one day come for him (they can come in any shape or colour, btw): Look, you are mistaken. I am not a descendant of those hook-nosed semitic Jews. I am a descendant of Khazars! I'm racially pure of the Jewish race. And unlike those Jews, I am honest about it! I do not lie to you so please show me some mercy.

There is no lower point for anyone to descend to after he makes common cause with the Nazis. The above is a sympathy for Nazi rationalization as I have ever encountered from a Jew.

Levi, speak for yourself, when you speak of Jews lying for a 1000 years. As a Sephardi Jew whose ancestors are traceable back to 4th century Gaza, I cannot see how your theory can have any meaning or relevance whatsoever for me. Still I cannot help wondering where you intend to go with it. The Nazis knew where they were going with their racial theories. Where are you going with your racial theories, I wonder? What is the end game of these ruminations?

Levi9909 said...

Modernity - you said that you either (you said "even" but meant "either") "know them (fascist arguments) or you don't". Their position is simple enough and it would have been quicker for you to detail it (as Fabian has done, exactly the same as I did here) than it would for me to go googling your suggested search words.

The fact is, you simply didn't know why the Khazar hypothesis is touted by some neo-nazi types. You just happened to see it on some neo-nazi sites and thought it must be an intrinsically nazi theory.

You are both a liar and a fool.

ModernityBlog said...

Elf wrote:

"The fact is, you simply didn't know why the Khazar hypothesis is touted by some neo-nazi types."

Self-evidently, I did because I wrote itself several times, in the **body** of the post.

The thesis is used to delegitimised the existence of Jews, as I have pointed out several times, as has Bob.

But Elf, you will never concede the most obvious point.

You have some problem, which means you can't read what people write accurately, you can't remember it and you can't honestly render it.

I have no problem with you insultingly me, I am not bothered, I would expect nothing less, but at least I'd like you to read what I write, think about it and then argue with that point of view in mind.

Inventing your own version of my arguments is rather boring and childish.

You simply can't get my argument: I don't care about the Far Right, I don't care about the "Khazar” argument.

I care that bits of the British Left can't see Far Right arguments concerning ethnicity when they see them, and avoid using them. I care that bits of the British Left seem to know very little about the Far Right and can’t see why it is wrong to co-opting their arguments into the Left’s politics.

However, you won't understand the bloody word that I have written so there is not much point continuing a dialogue with you, and that's why I wasn't going to indulge you on my own blog.

Nothing could anyone says gets thru to you, if you don't want it.

Thus, any exchange of views with you is pointless and I think most readers would have gathered that by now.

Gert said...

Oh, Moddy, Moddy, Moddy,

(No, I'm not going to be as polite as Mark, whose restraint here has been remarkable but why on Earth he wants to make time to debate belletrist imbeciles like you or Concentric Circles is a bit of a mystery to me).

You really are a wanker first-class, aren't you?

You're trying to smear a researcher (whether Sand is a specialist in French History or not, BTW, is completely neither here nor there) looking into Jewish ancestry on the grounds that the results of such research may be used by the Far Right. This is certainly so but should in no way stop such research from being conducted: the truth stands on it's own, regardless of who finds it, proclaims it, uses it or abuses it. Clearly Sand isn't 'Far Right' and has no intention of speaking for them. Sand's arguments, from what I gather, go much beyond the genetic argument, BTW.

Truth be told, the overwhelming majority of anti-Zionists aren't even remotely interested in the 'genetic lineage of Jews', the 'blood ties of Jews', the 'historic connection of Jews to Israel' (all of which are in fact eerily reminiscent themselves of Nazi 'Blut und Boden' arguments.)

That's because Jewish ancestry is neither here nor there (and neither is past Jewish suffering, BTW) when it comes to the creation of Israel: anti-Zionists oppose Zionism because it displaced a very large number of inhabitants of Palestine (on the grounds of the irrelevant 'ties' of Jewry to the 'Promised land') and that it continues to do so. That makes Zionism a deeply racist ideology and deeply damaging to an entire other group of people (genetically homogenous or not is AGAIN completely beside the point) who had nothing to do with the alleged Exodus or the Holocaust.

A child can see this but a puerile Zionist sycophant like you obviously can't.

The histrionic and immediate reaction to Sand by British Zionism's stuffed shirts like Jonathan Hoffman is completely telling. This mental midget can't even understand that by attacking someone who may (or may not) unearth evidence that Jews are not a 'race' Hoffman essentially shoots himself in the foot. After all, it's a clear admission that at the heart of Zionism, erroneously, lays a quasi-religious race-centric idea: special rights for the Chosen Ones over the mere mortals who had the serious misfortune to stand in the way of the 'Jewish return' to the 'Promised Land'.

Fabian made the same mistake but doesn't even realise his internal contradiction. Fabian, BTW, for all your bleating about the Far Right... is as Far Right as they come, as is Israel's entire Government. Over at HP, Fabian had the temerity to claim to know why Israeli Arabs were generally poorer than their Jewish counterparts. That, folks, is because the husbands in Arab Israeli families generally don't work. Too busy studying the Qu'ran, I guess. Or plotting acts of terror against the Terror State. Something like that...

Bob, you are a wishy-washy 'yeah-but-no-but' kind of blogger who gets constricted in his own contradictions and attempts at nuance. Try and keep it a liiittle simple and you might see the forest for the trees. I don't think you're quite intelligent enough to try and make the sort of complicated arguments you're trying to make. Alternatively, try and work out how many angels fit on the tip of a pin...

ModernityBlog said...

Bob,

I know you are more charitable than me so maybe you should hold a "Basic reading skill course for 'anti-Zionists' " ?

That way they wouldn't clog up your and my threads :)

Personally, I am not interested in their deliberate misrepresentation of my views, which I have explained at length.

It is worthless to debate them as nothing sinks in.

:)

Gert said...

Modders,

We understand your argument perfectly, it's very simple (a bit like you).

The Contentious Centrist said...

"Over at HP, Fabian had the temerity to claim to know why Israeli Arabs were generally poorer than their Jewish counterparts. That, folks, is because the husbands in Arab Israeli families generally don't work. Too busy studying the Qu'ran, I guess. Or plotting acts of terror against the Terror State. Something like that..."

To see is to believe. Please provide a direct link to the place where Fabian claimed all that you say he claimed. If you fail to do so, your failure will be considered as a de-facto admission that you lied about Fabian's claims.

Gert said...

CC:

"[...] your failure will be considered as a de-facto admission that you lied about Fabian's claims."

Very facile, CC. There is no admission on my part. Fabian's comment, along with several other deeply racist comments he made vis-à-vis Arabs/Palestinians, lays now fairly deeply buried in HP's archives because HP shits multiple posts per day and the incident goes back possibly more than six months. So finding the comment back could take hours of time I'm not willing to spend on the matter.

It's your right not to believe me but I know I'm telling the truth: I was there when the comment was made. It was quite shocking, but not to the HP confreres. Fabian is Jewish after all and at HP that counts for a lot.

The Contentious Centrist said...

Bob, were these two crocodiles ever your friends, comrades, whatever? I seem to discern a certain palpable wistfulness in their pleas to you to remove the plank from between your eyes and go back to the warm and cloying embrace of the antifascist anti-ists.

Please do not be misled by the insults they pile on you. I noticed how easily wounded these Jihadist antizionists are. Hell has no fury like the "Chomskular" anarchist, scorned.

How come there is so little concern with suffering Palestinians in their discourse? How come there is so little compassion for Jews? Where do you go to learn such cynicism, such sentimental brutality, such a mockery of what is decent and good? the only other place I encounter these ideas, these feelings are what I read @ MEMRI, translations of the hate struck crazed mullahs who similarly obsess over the genetic origins of Jews...

http://74.125.95.132/search?q=cache:pRdDV76nc9AJ:www.memri.org/bin/articles.cgi%3FArea%3Dsr%26ID%3DSR01102+apes+and+pigs&cd=2&hl=en&ct=clnk&gl=ca

The Contentious Centrist said...

"Fabian's comment, along with several other deeply racist comments he made vis-à-vis Arabs/Palestinians, lays now fairly deeply buried in HP's archives because HP shits multiple posts per day and the incident goes back possibly more than six months."

In other words, you admit that even though Fabian made this and "several other deeply racist comments", and that HP has an archives in which these comments can be found, you are incapable of producing even one such proof. If you cannot back up your highly slanderous allegations with some evidence that anything remotely like your representation of them took place, why make the claim? Is it perhaps because "Fabian is Jewish after all" and for you that automatically counts for a multitude of self-evident sins, with no need to prove except by your say-so?

bob said...

CC, I have never (knowlingly) been a comrade of these people! It's mildly embarassing to be considered by them to be the best of our bad bunch. (Incidentally, I see gabriel "Evildoer" Ash as the best of their bunch, for the record. At least he reads your argument before hitting back!

Gert said...

Oh, but CC, no worries, mate. Fabian has made several such remarks and he'll do it again, there's no question about that. In which case you, Modders and b-Bob will be the first to know.

It never ceases to amaze me how people like Fabian are so keen to brand everyone they disagree with an anti-Semite but have no compunction in making the vilest ant-Arab/Palestinian/Muslim statements.

So you'll have to wait a little but not long, rest assured...

ModernityBlog said...

Bob,

I hope you and others will see the funny side to this?

Imagine, the arguments that you and I have advance were not terribly complicated, merely that the British left should avoid co-opting Far Right arguments on ethnicity, etc, yet the collective mind of these “anti-Zionists” couldn’t get their heads around that?

So if they have difficulty understanding our arguments on this simple issue, which have been repeated several times, then how on earth will they comprehend the complex situation in the Middle East?

They can’t and won’t.

[Shorter “Anti-Zionists” version] If they are too thick to grasp elementary points then they won’t get the hard ones.

Gert said...

Modders:

"[...] British left should avoid co-opting Far Right arguments on ethnicity."

Oh, come off it, man. It's precisely the Zionists who are embracing arguments based on ethnicity, racial purity and Divine Rights based there upon. Your pal Fabian does it too, albeit in a self-contradictory way: one minute he claims not to care, the next that he knows all about Jewish roots and how unassailable they are.

If a BNPer started nagging you about the British connection of 'pure bred Britons' to the 'Nordic Race', the 'White Race' or the 'Cockney Race' for that matter you'd balk (and rightly so, of course). If they (and THEY exist) insisted that that is the basis for the creation of a White Britain, you'd balk even more (and again rightly so).

But when Zionists make exactly the same argument with regards to Israel, that's hunky-dory with you. Talk about Jewish exceptionalism...

And if someone questions the validity of the Zionist ethno-centric narrative, the "Consultant Anti-Fascist and Antisemite Finder General to the Jews" (you) has to come and warn people of the impending doom. It doesn't really get more hypocritical than that...

No doubt Sand's arguments will be misconstrued (no doubt by you, who hasn't read the book), distorted, essentialised and abused by various imbeciles and groupuscules but genuine enquiry must be allowed, always. There is no reason to suspect that Sand isn't bona fide but that doesn't mean he's right of course. To me and JSF it matters not one iota.

Re. the Far Right (BNP and EDL), I wouldn't worry too much about what they'll make of the argument: they've already shown themselves solidly behind Israel, ethno-centric logic now demands they too denounce Sand.

As regards 'hard points': here's a pretty soft one for you. How does the increased colonisation of the West Bank settlements and Israel's refusal to even halt construction somehow increase its security?

ModernityBlog said...

Bob,

Here's a prime example of the illiteracy of these "anti-Zionists":

Gert barks:

"No doubt Sand's arguments will be misconstrued (no doubt by you, who hasn't read the book), ..."

My post stated:

"Why Sand, as a historian of French history, decided to venture into the complex and contested area of Jewish history I can’t say, perhaps it was for the fame? The money or even notoriety? Whatever reason, it is unimportant and I shall leave it to academics in that field to critique his work."

key words, "...I shall leave it to academics in that field to critique his work."

from my comments box,

"I’m not sure that’s how I would characterise it, as I haven’t read Sand’s work."

So no matter what you say, write, several times over, these "Anti-Zionists" ignore it and rant on regardless.

Again, I am NOT interested in Sand's work, rather how it *used* (which is a not too subtle distinction, and bound to fly over the heads of these "anti-Zionists").

The Contentious Centrist said...

gert, I already "rest assured" that there was no substance to your allegations about Fabian. There is not the slightest doubt in my mind that if you had --given your need to "win" an argument-- you would have furnished it already.

Lest we forget, let us recall what you said about Fabian:

"Over at HP, Fabian had the temerity to claim to know why Israeli Arabs were generally poorer than their Jewish counterparts. That, folks, is because the husbands in Arab Israeli families generally don't work. Too busy studying the Qu'ran, I guess. Or plotting acts of terror against the Terror State. Something like that..."

bob said...

Re. the Far Right (BNP and EDL), I wouldn't worry too much about what they'll make of the argument: they've already shown themselves solidly behind Israel, ethno-centric logic now demands they too denounce Sand.

I presume Gert is being willfully disingenuous here. Anyone who really believes that the BNP and EDL actually like Jews is even more foolish than those who think that Kaminski does. Similarly, I can't remember whether it is in these overly long comment thread, or at Mod's, where Mark trotted out the argument that fascists used to target Jews but now they target Muslims, therefore we don't need to worry about the old things like the Khazar hypothesis. (The Klugs & Lermans occasionally say similar things, if a bit more caveated. A more sophisticated, but equally wrong, version of this argument is made by the anthropologist Matti Bunzl.) Of course fascism changes, and the explicit target of most BNP/EDL agitation is not Jews but Muslims and migrants. But that does not mean that the core fascist ideology has simply been discarded. Fascist ideology remains at the heart of these movements, and antisemitism remains at the heart of that. Despite the use of cultural euphemisms, biological race remains important for these people, which is why the Khazar issue, though apparently very marginal and trivial, is a big deal for them.



As regards 'hard points': here's a pretty soft one for you. How does the increased colonisation of the West Bank settlements and Israel's refusal to even halt construction somehow increase its security?

This is totally irrelevant to anything we have been discussing here. Modernity, for example, has been very consistently opposed to the settlements on his blog. The trouble with the blanket notion of "Zionists" (or "Zios", the preferred term at JsF) is that it cannot see any differences within this huge category, nor that not not everyone who defends some things Israel does want to defend all things Israel does.

Gert said...

Bob:

"I presume Gert is being willfully disingenuous here. Anyone who really believes that the BNP and EDL actually like Jews is even more foolish than those who think that Kaminski does."

And where did I say the EDL and the BNP 'like' Jews? They probably don't. But as British ethno-nationalists their position on Israel is entirely coherent, anti-Semitic as they are. There is no inconsistency there.

"Modernity, for example, has been very consistently opposed to the settlements on his blog"

Oh, has he now, really? Well, maybe he could concentrate on that a bit more, rather than slagging people like me off, calling me 'Far Right', deleting well-reasoned comments, banning me and now also Mark. You've got two real plonkers as friends there, Bobby. You bunch of prissy cunts...

Goodbye.

The Contentious Centrist said...

"the increased colonisation of the West Bank settlements"

I wonder, who is colonizing the West Bank settlements?

Another example of levi's clichoid compulsion which end up meaningless.

If I understood correctly, Levi is not concerned about WB settlements, since he cannot see a difference between Tel Aviv and Ariel. So for him to even bring this up as an issue is totally disingenuous. He has been arguing most frenziedly against any autonomous, political Jewish self-determination in Israel. AsaJew, he wants Jews to remain forever déraciné. He wants Jews to reclaim their former status as the most persecuted ethnicity. To what end, I can only speculate. But it has nothing to do with suffering Palestinians, that's for sure.

Gert said...

Concentric Circles:

When I 'met' you and Modders at Terry Glavin's, I thought I'd bumped into 'Dumb and Dumber', not sure who was which.

To refute your idiotic position (you now really sound like a two-bit third-rate blogger of the sort I bump into in the Conservative Meircan blogosphere) would take time I'll never get back.

Suffice it to say that some see an injustice and will not come to terms with it, others like me see Israel as a reality that won't go away but needs to be changed.

"He wants Jews to reclaim their former status as the most persecuted ethnicity."

You numpty. Anti-Semitism will probably never go away completely but it's very much under control in the West. Of course, if like you any criticism of Israel is to be equated with anti-Semitism, then this country really must be an anti-Semitic hellhole. The poor dears over at HP were, shocked, SHOCKED! I tell thee, watching a documentary about the British Israel Lobby.

And how providing the members of a past persecuted minority with an alleged safe haven, a self-styled ghetto, will solve anti-Semitism I'd really like to know. Do you also advocate self-determination for gays in a state of their own? The return of African Americans to Africa?

Racism isn't solved by those means. But you don't care about racism: as long as you can brand people anti-Semitic at the merest whim, you're happy as a pig in muck. Please don't tell me you're Jewish or not Jewish: I really couldn't care less...

bob said...

I think I will close comments on this soon if it carries on too long, as it is becoming thoroughly unpleasant. Gert complains at being banned by Modernity, and then calls me and my friends "a bunch of prissy cunts". Any more of that and I'll tighten up my currently rather liberal comments policy.

On the far right: The BNP and EDL positions on Israel are far from coherent. They use a pretence at being pro-Israel as a sign that they are no longer hardcore fascists but nice cuddly Euro-nationalists (in my view, this conversion is completely bogus and cynical) and as a way of irritating Muslims.

ModernityBlog said...

bob,

Good explanation as to why the BNP might claim to be "pro Israeli".

But those who advanced this argument, and I've only really heard it from the most obsessive anti-Zionist cranks are doing essentially six things:

1) taking the neofascist, BNP, at face value

2) accepting the BNP's word, as genuine

3) believing it because they want to

4) not applying their customary cynicism to the words of others ( above is a good example, but Elf's comments box as well)

5) not employing any cogent analysis of why the BNP might do this

6) Finally, failing to understand the nature of neofascism, etc

It is equally plausible that the BNP have advanced that notion to avoid fighting on two fronts, to put their opponents on the back foot, or as a piece of camouflage, etc

And those "anti-Zionist" should be able to realise that, but their petty hatreds make them take a charitable view of the BNP, for the moment, which surely tells you all you need to know about their political common sense and grasp of reality, which is next to nonexistent.

Gert said...

Bob:

"They use a pretence at being pro-Israel as a sign that they are no longer hardcore fascists"

Supporting Israel shows they're no longer fascists? I'd say supporting a proto-fascist etho-state shows exactly that.

Regards Modders, he had it coming. He came over at mine accusing me of the 'vilest racist abuse'. When repeatedly prompted by three bloggers (Mark, Margaret and me) to substantiate he couldn't and refused. Ultimately he resorted to 'anti-Zionism is anti-Semitism, they just substitute "Jew" with "Zionist"'.

Sleep with dogs and gets flees, Bob. Sorry for crapping on your marble floor. I'm outta here now, so you won't have to adjust your liberal CM policy: wouldn't want to damage your sophisticated self-image, now would we?

Bye.

ModernityBlog said...

As ever, these fake "anti-Zionists" misrepresent what was written:

Ages ago, I commented on Gert's blog:

"It is good that racists such as you and HB are not even given the time of day.

Go peddle your racist filth elsewhere."

and

"It is fairly simple to spot anti-Jewish racists, they rant on about the misdemeanors of Jews ad nauseum, and even if they change the words around, as the Far Right do, using "Zionist" instead of Jews, it fools no one.

I hope that explains it."

at the bottom of the comments boxes, you will see Gert's remarks on antisemitism in Britain, and his dismissal of racial attacks on Jews

"For 2004 about 450 anti-Semitic incidents were registered in Britain. That's 450 too many of course but let's try a little perspective, shall we?

The British population is about 61,000,000 now.

Assume (very 'generously') that each anti-Semitic incident in 2004 had been witnessed by 20 direct witnesses, so that makes 20 x 450 = 9,000 people having witnessed an AS incident in 2004 or 9,000 / 61,000,000 x 100 % = 0.015 % have witnessed such an incident in 2004, about 1 in every 10,000 Brits. You have a higher chance of a decent win with a lottery scratch card!"



http://developing-your-web-presence.blogspot.com/2009/06/liberty-if-it-means-anything-is-not.html

Gert said...

Listen, you douchebag, there is no "dismissal of racial attacks on Jews" on my part. What I write there is factually correct. How many anti-Semitic attacks have you witnessed with your own eyes?

If you were a real person I would take you to court.

There are more of your defamatory remarks made by you on your own blog, as you well know.

Meanwhile I'm watching your blog.

The Contentious Centrist said...

Gert, I have no recollection of ever running into you @ Terry's. Maybe you were going under some alias there? I do know that I noticed your name @Simply Jews where no one takes you seriously. No wonder you keep coming back to Bob, who treats with respect even you.

I looked at your last comment addressed to me and found that whatever substance there was in it it got drowned in all that noise you are making.

So after I cleared away the noisy bits (insults, irrelevant ruminations, sarcastic asides), all that was left is this:

“Suffice it to say that some see an injustice and will not come to terms with it, others like me see Israel as a reality that won't go away but needs to be changed."

" Anti-Semitism will probably never go away completely but it's very much under control in the West... Racism isn't solved by those means.”

So, to your first coherent thought:

Israel is a reality, and the reality is that Israel is a Jewish state. If you want to change this reality, then explain to me how you are going to change it, in detail. By what means? How far are you going to change it? Who gets to say what Israel will look like? Do Israelis have a vote in this say?

And as for your second thought: No, I do not accept this formula. I do not accept that there is a people in the world for whom a special hatred is given a special privileged place and an inevitability, a special hatred that the people who are targeted by it are forbidden by the likes of you to fight and solve, as they see fit.

What comes through from your baffling word soup is much confusion, not just noise.

Gert said...

10 CC:

"Gert, I have no recollection of ever running into you @ Terry's. Maybe you were going under some alias there?"

No alias: here's the encounter (towards the end of the thread).

Simply Jews? Snotty has one regular commenter, an arch-Conservative from Texas, Dick Wozzisname) and during the time I commented there organised a debate around the burning issue of 'whether exterminating all of Gaza could be morally justified?' (Ding dong!) He even had a guy from Zionation (a committed Marxist Zionist) come over and tell him what was what. Snotty's a nutter. Apart from that he's also a racist, supremacist and sexist. Reaeaeal progressive! Another Eustonite...

"Israel is a reality, and the reality is that Israel is a Jewish state. If you want to change this reality, then explain to me how you are going to change it, in detail. By what means? How far are you going to change it? Who gets to say what Israel will look like? Do Israelis have a vote in this say?"

Simples, really: Israel needs to abide by International Law. This guy explains it with painful clarity in about 5 mins, in simple language that even a cardboard cut-out like you can understand. Don't fall off your perch, it's Finkelstein on Danish TV...

Will Israel have a vote in this? Possibly not: if they don't want to listen they'll eventually have to feel, won't they? You don't seriously think the world will stand for another forty years of this settler nonsense, do you?

ModernityBlog said...

Looking thru Terry's place, it seems that there was a discussion before, and Gert acted as he normally does, erratically and full of abuse.

My comment of that time was apt:

"But you'll never get a straight answer, basically cos "anti-Zionists" like Gert, have so much rubbish in their heads it is hard for them to reason logically."

He ain't changed much :)

Gert said...

Modders:

That coming from a perennial smear-merchant like you is rather rich. Because what exactly does your side of the 'Left' do but try and endlessly smear those a bit further to the left of you? Endlessly looking for bits of dirt you can throw at SU, SWP, STWC etc etc, petty little links here and there, an allegation here, a bit of a false syllogism there. A petty pattern seeker, that's what you are.

Bob tells me you're against the occupation. Well, so is Alan Dershowitz and he talks it about as much as you do. If you really are interested in solving the ongoing injustice, then why constantly attack those who are trying to do this? Because it gets you more applause and approval from those who so cynically exploit you: talking about the occupation would be frowned at, at HP, would it not?

Grow a pair, or just grow up.

bob said...

Gert, you obviously don't care what we think, as you can't say anything without throwing in a few insults, preferably mildly macho or misogynist, whereas if you wanted to persuade us you'd make some effort to engage. And now a dishonest slur on Snoopy (see here for the back story, any readers who have bothered to come this far down).

I don't think anyone is getting anything at all out of this discussion any more, if discussion is even the right word.

It is possible to have real arguments on the web civilly (e.g. my very civil disagreement with the Raincoat Optimist).

I've decided I'd prefer to remain a Z-list blogger if wading through toxic comment threads like this are what more popular bloggers have to deal with.

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

Corrected comment:

"And now a dishonest slur on Snoopy"

You may wonder at what is the merit of advocating a cause if in the support of it one has got to rely on slurs, lies, insults, irrelevant asides and venomous infantile sarcasm.

Of course Gert and ilk have no interest whatsoever in the very real difficulties faced by Palestinians.

http://www.solomonia.com/blog/archive/2009/11/what-does-pro-palestinian-really-mean/index.shtml

Gert said...

Bob:

I will now leave but I will say this. The Simply Jews post you're linking to (and the other Simply Jews post that links too) IS NOT THE POST I'M REFERRING TO.

The post I'm referring to suggested that genocide in Gaza might be justified. Ami Isseroff from ZioNation was one of the few commenters (with me) to point out how ludicrous this idea was. Other takers were all for it. (Isseroff doesn't feature at all in the comment sections of the posts you brought up)

I've looked for the post in question many times since. I truly believe Snoopy disappeared it because it was so thoroughly embarrassing.

There is no dishonesty on my part: this episode, shockingly, really did happen.

Snoopy's blog got linked to by a psychopath called Bar Kochba (whom I also know), see it in the comment section of the second post (the one yours links too).

You should get out more often.

I've now unsubscribed and won't be back.

All the best.

The Contentious Centrist said...

"I've looked for the post in question many times since. I truly believe Snoopy disappeared it because it was so thoroughly embarrassing."

Let's not forget that Gert was also rendered incapable of providing a link to support his slander of Fabian, earlier in this thread. Now he repeats this same shenanigan with Snoopy. Slur, slander and smear, and then when called upon to prove his allegations, he responds by more slurs, slanders and smears.

If I were a Palestinian I would be tearing my hair in despair, to have such an advocate represent my cause.

bob said...

The Snoopy post I linked to explains the post I presume Gert is referring to, and explains Snoopy's staying quiet for a while. And it links in the first sentence to the post I presume Gert refers to. Surely better to link here, for full understanding, then the first post? Unless of course Gert is referring to something else entirely, which is of course possible as he provides no evidence for what he is talking about.

Anyway, back to reality now.

The Contentious Centrist said...

"And it links in the first sentence to the post I presume Gert refers to."

Well, it's easier to manufacture righteous outrage rather than open a link, isn't it?

I suppose now that Gert's laziness is revealed he will be more careful next time he feels like throwing about all sorts of accusations. But I'm not holding my breath. I cannot say it often enough: poor Palestinians, that such are their advocates.

TNC said...

Levi:

“you will remain an apologist for the most powerful states and the worst of them all (Israel) in the meantime…”

Worst of them all? What planet do you live on? I’m unsure why you are unable to recognize that at the same time as the Second Intifada, one week of communal violence in Gujarat, India left just as many, if not more, Muslims dead. One week!

Never mind what is happening in Africa where the loss of life at the hands of authoritarians is astounding, you anti-Zionists remain fixated on Israel.

Israel is a more repressive state than China? Than Zimbabwe? Than Saudi Arbia? Etc. etc. etc. Take your pick.

I know Israel is far from perfect but your fixation speaks to something seriously at fault in your ability to reason or make a comparison between the actions of nation-states. For you anti-Zios it’s all Israel, all the time.

CC writes:

“I remain convinced that Levi is suffering from terminal boredom.”

I think it’s far deeper than that. Most of these people have ever actually been to Israel and they have very little understanding of what actually happens there. They read some lefty literature and think they have the entire picture. Look at Gert's comments. Standard anti-Zio claptrap.

TNC said...

Typo:

Most of these people have *never* actually been to Israel and they have very little understanding of what actually happens there.

kellie said...

Elf/Levi presents a curious choice of idiocies here, of either being incapable of reading before responding, or of assuming that others are incapable of reading what he's responding to. The most grotesque example above being where Bob writes, "For myself, like Modernity, I don't believe that biology is destiny, and so don't think that the truth or falsehood of the hypothesis (and the overwhelming scholarly consensus is that the hypothesis is tendentious) makes a jot of difference to the rights of the Jews," only to get the damn fool reply that "You prefer the idea that Jews have been ethnically continuous for 2,000 long suffering years and that this means that Jews are entitled to a state that privileges Jews and ethnically cleanses Palestinians."

I notice that despite Mod repeating Bob's words above, Elf/Levi seems to have missed the chance to self-correct.

Levi9909 said...

Kellie - since your comment was mercifully short and straight forward and it didn't get nested in my gmail I read it in full. I hadn't read either mod or bob saying what you have quoted but Mod clearly does believe that it is very important not to fault the idea that Jews are the direct descendants of biblical Israelites. I think Bob expressed that view too but read on please.

Mod had compared a post on the Socialist Unity blog (that invoked Shlomo Sand's book) together with George Galloway and Palestine Solidarity, to a neo-nazi position. He persistently refused to explain why he appeared to be saying that the Khazar hypothesis as expounded by Sand (if indeed it is) is intrinsically antisemitic. If he wants to back pedal that's fine. But this aspect of the discussion began because Mod appeared to be saying that questioning the lineage of today's Jews somehow delegitimises Jews. If he is no longer saying that, then that is also fine.

Bob has now come out as a Jewish supremacist. I had thought that he described himself as a bundist before. Since coming out his comments have been more mealy mouthed and pretentious than I had noticed before, and they were bad before. Therefore I simply ran with what I had skimmed. Nothing of any significance to correct but let's just round up the position.

Both Bob and Mod believe in Jewish supremacy but they don't believe it is down to anything genetic. Further, neither of them think that the genetic history of the Jews is of any consequence to the rights of Jews today. That's also my position and, from the SU blog post in question, George Galloway's position too.

All of which still has me wondering what Mod's beef with Sand, SU and GG was in the first place. But his post calling into question the integrity of Shlomo Sand and likening him, SU, GG and PSC to antisemitic neo-nazis is still in place.

In the same post he also essentialises "Jews, as a people, as a group with a deep sense of history". That's as opposed to a society whose members have all sorts of beliefs about all sorts of things, hence the expression, two Jews, three opinions. Mod's version, 17 million Jews, one opinion bar a few self-hating eccentrics.

Perhaps you don't read his blog or you'd point out to him that he's had plenty of time to self-correct.

Anyway, thank you

ModernityBlog said...

“He persistently refused to explain why he appeared to be saying that the Khazar hypothesis as expounded by Sand (if indeed it is) is intrinsically antisemitic.”

[sigh]I did not refuse, I explained it several times.

But Elf doesn’t read, like or trouble to understand what other people say, so continually got the wrong end of the stick.

He didn’t even read by post, fully. http://modernityblog.wordpress.com/2009/11/15/khazars-the-far-right-and-dubious-history/

The problem with Elf, is that he wishes to frame the debate purely within his own terms, and even does that when he’s on someone else’s blog, arguing with them.

Elf seemingly has no theory of mind, he can’t grasp how other people see things differently than himself, he can’t put himself in their position or understand their arguments.

That’s why he continually misconstrued even the simplest point, even after I belaboured them.

Previously I wrote:

” Part of Sand’s work retreads a well-trodden path from Arthur Koestler, to any number of dubious Far Right web sites, that push the notion that “Jews aren’t really Jews, they are Khazars”.

Why Sand, as a historian of French history, decided to venture into the complex and contested area of Jewish history I can’t say, perhaps it was for the fame? The money or even notoriety? Whatever reason, it is unimportant and I shall leave it to academics in that field to critique his work.

Anita Shapira has reviewed his book [PDF download] for the Journal of Israeli History and Israel Bartal is highly critical. Simon Schama reviewed it in the FT.

I am more concerned with this very nasty line of reasoning, from an antifascist point of view and where it leads, to the delegitimization of Jews.

I think anyone remotely familiar with the limited range of thoughts and debates found on neo-Nazi and Far Right web sites will recognise that particular “Khazar” argument and understand why it is pushed. I won’t provide any links to those neo-fascist web sites, but readers can find them on Google by using the keywords: Khazars Jews white power or David Duke khazers.”


Shorter version for Elf, I will leave it to academics to critique Sand’s work, I am concerned with the bastardised form of the “Khazar” argument, as found on neo-Nazi and Far Right web sites and where that leads.

The logical reason why I wouldn’t critique Sand’s work is that I don’t have a copy of the book. Which is simple enough to understand, but I imagine that particular limitation would never occur to Elf, as he would happily criticise and rant on subjects where he has little or no knowledge, as evidenced by his contributions here and elsewhere.

Levi9909 said...

Moddie - let's just look at this bit:

” Part of Sand’s work retreads a well-trodden path from Arthur Koestler, to any number of dubious Far Right web sites, that push the notion that “Jews aren’t really Jews, they are Khazars”.

But Sand doesn't say that Jews aren't really Jews. He identifies as a Jew himself. He simply says that Jews do not descend directly from only one ethnically homogenous community. That is not the same as saying that Jews are not really Jews. You are conflating the general Khazar hypothesis with the particular one you pretended to be specifically concerned with when you were actually trying to smear anti-zionists. This is how you made it look like it's you that believes that "Jews aren't really Jews" if we are descended from Khazars or anyone other than biblical Israelites.

But anyway, I think I've understood it now, Moddie. There's only one version of the Khazar hypothesis that you don't like and that has nothing to do with Shlomo Sand, the Socialist Unity blog post that you linked to, nothing to do with George Galloway and nothing to do with Palestine Solidarity. So that was just a smear that you now seem to be withdrawing since none of those named take the view that "Jews aren't really Jews". And none give a stuff whether or not Jews descend from Khazars or from an earlier community, or, as is most likely the case and what (from his articles) Sand (et al) is actually saying, from many and various communities.

That's grand Moddie. Let's leave it at that now. The Khazar hypothesis might be sound, it might not be, but people shouldn't go round saying that "Jews aren't really Jews". That's all you devoted your post to and the names you named were purely superfluous, indeed beyond superfluous since their view is the same as yours as regards whether or not the origins of the Jewish people of today have any bearing on the rights or wrongs of the existence of the State of Israel or of the Jewish people collectively or individually.

ModernityBlog said...

Elf,

We've been here before, you are merely repeating yourself.

I answered those questions before, at length, see my comment of
November 16, 2009 2:13 am at 2:13 am

http://modernityblog.wordpress.com/2009/11/15/khazars-the-far-right-and-dubious-history/

The Contentious Centrist said...

"Kellie - since your comment was mercifully short and straight forward ...I read it in full."

I wonder if this is a good example for dramatic irony, I mean the fact that Levi asserts a preference for tight and short arguments which he then responds to by carpeting the comment thread with his extraordinary verbosity. Can anyone be as unselfconscious as this?

The Contentious Centrist said...

"He simply says that Jews do not descend directly from only one ethnically homogenous community."

I ask again: how is this racial theory relevant to Jewish claims to Jerusalem and Israel? How is this relevant for the more than 50% Mizrahi Jews who are now citizens of the State of Israel and who have been dwelling in the Middle East since indeed time immemorial? What does Levi intend to achieve with this insistence on who is or is not a "pure" Jew? Why is he not answering this question?

If Levi is such a purist for statelessness why doesn't he try to experiment with other nations? why not Kosovo? Or Great Britain, for that matter? It couldn't be that for all his righteous theories he feels more protected carrying a British passport, could it?

bob said...

I don't want to extend this any further, but I want to say that the allegation that I have "come out as a Jewish supremacist" completely stupefied me. I cannot see how that can be construed from what I said. It is not a description of me that I recognise. That's all.

The Contentious Centrist said...

No description issuing from Levi and ilk can ever stupefy and I wonder you even allow it to bother you.

What is a "Jewish supremacist"? Something manufactured by Levi's delirious mind which can only play on a neo-Nazi range of notes.

ModernityBlog said...

Who can be sure?

It's fairly certain that Elf himself doesn't know what he's spouting, so how are the rest of us to make sense of his spittle covered foaming at the mouth?

I think it is him just venting his spleen or some form of anger management therapy?

Who knows? Who cares?

I don't think we should give it more than 20 seconds of thought, and then only to remember how absurd he is, how his own views and arguments are condemned by his conduct, hysteria and histrionics.

kellie said...

Bob, I know it wasn't intended as a joke, but so far removed was the "Jewish supremacist" slur from all I've read of yours that I found myself laughing for days afterwards at the GUBU-ness of it.

bob said...

GUBU-ness: a great new word for my vocabulary. Thank you.

Rebecca said...

And then there's the question I always ask in these discussions - why is Palestinian nationalism any better than Jewish nationalism? What gives Palestinians, any more than Jews, the right to their own state? (I personally think that both peoples deserve a state of their own). If all nationalities are "imagined," why pick on one over another? As a separate national identity, being Palestinian seems fairly new - from the late 19th century at the most. I don't happen to think that that matters - Palestinians now have a sense of a separate identity. I also think that we should pay attention to reality, which Levi and Gert seem to ignore. How do they propose to get around the problem that Israelis don't want their state to disappear, regardless of what anti-Zionists such as themselves think? I would think that the one-state solution actually requires the permission of both peoples really to work. In some ultimate sense, I think it would be a good idea, but it's certainly not to going to happen right now!

SnoopyTheGoon said...

"You completely ignore the times and places over the last 2,000 years when Jews, at the interface with non-Jews, were privileged. You also ignore the suffering of Jews caused by Jews, the suffering of non-Jews caused by Jews and the suffering of non-Jews caused by non-Jews."

Now, Bob, re that other post of yours: are you serious about forbidding others calling this character a stupid dreck?

I rest my case.

Matt said...

Pol Pot's Executioner: Welcome to Hell

http://youtu.be/wKhJ6JzY6h8