Friday, June 04, 2010

The English Defence League and the Gaza Flotilla

I have been extremely depressed in the wake of the botched and deadly IDF raid on the flotilla. I have never supported the Israeli blockade on Gaza. I think that the IDF tactics in this case were unbelievably stupid. And I think the deaths on the Mavi Marmara were tragic.

But the narrative of indignation that seems to be unconditionally accepted across both the mainstream media and certainly by most people I know, misses several of the crucial facts.

I tend to see it like Flesh:
The Israeli military took the bait dangled by the Mavi Marmara, which refused to port at Ashdod and so provoked the Israeli action its activists probably hoped for, which resulted in 9 deaths and many injuries. Unsurprisingly (Iran arming Hamas and Hesbollah) Israel is very defensive at the moment. A very right wing government is in power, with solid popular support. Hamas and Hesbollah need to take responsibility for Israeli popular support for their right-wing government. And every death and injury on the Mavi Marmara must be investigated.
Nobody serious says that Gazans are hungry – but they are entirely dependent and unable to leave. Like Israelis, they voted in their bad leaders. Hamas, which is jointly responsible for the blockade, has diverted much of the construction aid to Gaza into its own fortifications, rendering the rebuild impossible. Hamas is even more content than the Israelis to squeeze Gazans, and has refused to accept the aid the Mavi Marmara activists died to bring directly to them.
For a fuller picture than you will get from mainstream or left/liberal sources, go to these posts and also follow their links: Kellie, Francis (1, 2, 3), Terry, Martin (1, 2, 3), TNC, TULIP, Engage, Eamonn (1, 2, 3, 4, 5) and Gene.

Meanwhile, some friends Israel could do without. A tiny number of English Defence League members turned up at a pro-Israel demonstration, some possibly from the semi-fictitious "Jewish Division" of the EDL (it also has a "LGBT Division" and of course prominent Sikh members).

This has been grist for the mill for the hardcore anti-Zionists including Tony Greenstein*, whose post on the topic was somewhat dishonest (tempered slightly in a subsequent edit, but only slightly) and Andy Newman.  Newman initially accepted at face value the EDL's claim that the Zionist Federation had welcomed their support, but after a while qualified this. Dave Rich of the Community Safety Trust has attempted to put the record straight.

There is no doubt that some Jews and some Zionists support or sympathise with the EDL, attracted mainly by its virulent hatred of "Islamic extremism", a slippery term that sometimes includes all Muslims as well as those who are genuinely deserving of hatred. But these Jews are a pretty marginal minority, and the mainstream are better represented by the denunciations of the EDL made by the Board of Deputies and other communal leadership organisations.

If you want to know who the EDL are, read my post from earlier this week, the excellent posts by the Community Safety Trust (1, 2, 3) or the post by "Malatesta" up at Harry's Place. This by Louis Amis is also informative and worth reading, but too soft on the EDL.

The HP post, incidentally, is subject to the dangers of Harryism: many people in the comment thread, mostly from North America, are far to the right of its posters; many are supportive of the EDL and some are racist against Muslims. The squeeze on a genuinely decent and thoroughly anti-racist left, between the phobic Harryists and the pro-Hamas left, is another cause for depression. (On this sort of thing, see this from Anti-German Translation and some of these from Entdinglichung.)

The maverick veteran anti-fascist Terry Fitz adds his comment to the HP comment thread, worth extracting:
It is quite clear from the long article in The Guardian on the 29th of May, using information supplied by Searchlight, that the EDL is a loose amalgam of the remains of C18, NF elements, disaffected BNP members and football firms.
I would describe it as a racist flash mob that communicates through the net and mobiles. It has no real structure which is one of its strengths. It has come out of a widely held fear of Muslims as a result of various atrocities carried out across ther world by extremists in the name of that religion.
It has tapped into a widespread dislike, or at the very least suspicion, of all Muslims because of the actions of a few. The EDL only has to announce an event for the almost defunct but now rejuvinated UAF to call for a counter demonstration which involves them inciting young Muslims to attack the police.
The ensuing arrests and violence further alienate these young men from a society which they already feel has a dislike of them because of their racial origins and faith.
We are caught in a circle which can only lead to more arrests, injuries and possibly deaths. In Tower Hamlets we have a paricularly dangerous situation whereby on the 20th of June some of the most extreme preachers in Islam will be at the Troxy Centre on Commercial Rd. The EDL are already talking about a counter demonstration and the SWP/UAF are calling for opposition.
UAF/SWP are using their contacts through the failed Respect project to wind up young Bangladeshis and are convening a meeting this Saturday in Bethnal Green to form a front group to oppose the EDL. All in all the omens are not good and I will keep you all informed of progress or the lack of it.

*Talking of Tony Greenstein, here's one of Michael Ezra's strolls down memory lane to 1983.

74 comments:

eamonnmcdonagh said...

thanks for the links bob but the first two are to the same piece.

bob said...

Thanks. Will amend

eamonnmcdonagh said...

oops! I take it back, they're not..

bob said...

They've just all got Gaza in the title!

Waterloo Sunset said...

The maverick veteran anti-fascist Terry Fitz

Have you considered a career in the diplomatic service? ;-)

Pushing Mr Fitz's alcohol fuelled eccentricities to one side, several issues jump out of me from that comment.

, that the EDL is a loose amalgam of the remains of C18, NF elements, disaffected BNP members and football firms.

Which members of C18? We need names here I think. It's not beyond a shadow of doubt, but I've seen no evidence for this, unlike the BFF where Wigan Mike definitely has attended EDL demos. Equally, what is meant by "NF elements"? The NF leadership are extremely hostile to the EDL at this point.

UAF to call for a counter demonstration which involves them inciting young Muslims to attack the police.

That hardly fits either of our experiences of the UAF. It has been alleged by Searchlight (re Brum), but no evidence has yet been provided. This looks to me like a straight regurgitation of state propaganda. Not surprising considering the stated source. It is the case, for me, that the UAF have a tendency to use fiery rhetoric without the means or ability to put it into practise, leading in some cases to them losing control of angry Muslim youth on demos. That's a very different claim then the one Fitz is making here, without any evidence at all.

UAF/SWP are using their contacts through the failed Respect project to wind up young Bangladeshis

Um, their contacts with a party where they left on not very good terms? Again, this is something that would need backing up for me to take it at all seriously.

Fitz has been previously caught out saying two entirely opposing things about an antifascist mobilisation, so I'd urge caution as far as his credibility is concerned.

Talking of Tony Greenstein, here's one of Michael Ezra's strolls down memory lane to 1983.

Oh, come on. Whatever you think of Greenstein's politics, that post was farcial. A point made by many of that thread's commentators, including people who are no fans of Greenstein.

A newspaper cutting feature David T complaining about segregated swimming facilities for Muslims was cited uncritically on the BPP's website fpr some time. That doesn't mean David T and the BPP are ideological bedfellows..

And it is the case that Tony Greenstein does have a verifiable record of militant antifascism, including attacking a NF member. Something little Mikey worked himself up into a hissy fit of liberal outrage about at one point.

Mikey isn't even holding himself to the same standards he holds others. He recently uncritically cited a Stalinist source from World War 2.

He's not bad at digging up press cuttings, but his analysis is so woefully bad it's embarassing.

I don't agree with Greenstein about a lot of stuff and I definitely think his intervention into the whole EDL debate is highly unhelpful. (I'll spin that issue off into a seperate comment). But Mikey is just smearing through guilt by association here. And his motivation is the fact he's opposed to both the radical left and to militant antifascism, hence the fact he never mentions the far right unless he's using it to attack the left.

His temper tantrum about Andrew Coates suggesting he didn't know what he was talking about was hilarious though. As was his flailing when Voltaire's Priest pointed out he didn't understand the difference between the CPB and the CPGB.

Waterloo Sunset said...

Some initial observations on the allegations about the ZF and the EDL. I reserve the right to revise any of these if new information comes to light.

It's imperative that we seperate the issue of the EDl from any discussions of Israel, difficult though that may be at the moment. The AFA policy that militant antifascism does not have either an antizionist or a zionist viewpoint, because our interest is as antifascists, is still the correct one.

I see no reason to believe that the ZF has in any way cooperated with the EDL in the organisation of their demo. Ditto the CST.

This whole incident has really shown up the structural weakness of militant antifascism currently. We need to be able to have our own people out in an intelligence capacity when this kind of possibility arises, not rely on the eyewitness reports of others.

EDL members in the area is arguably something the CST can't do anything about while stewarding a demo. (Possibly somebody should, but I'll come back to this issue in a second). The far more important question is whether EDL members actively participated in the demonstration.

That's definitely unproven. Having gone through the photos, I couldn't see any EDL insignia, nor did I recognise any EDL activists. Specifically, Titus didn't seem to be there and you'd expect him to be if it was a full EDL mobilisation.

It is however possible that some were there that weren't recognised, by me or by the demonstrators. If so, while that signifies the need for better intelligence on the EDL, people can't be blamed for genuinely not recognising incognito EDL members.

If there was any known fraternisation between ZF and EDL members, that's far more grave and would need dealing with accordingly. But, at the moment, I see no grounds to tackle that, unless we have reason to believe it's a genuine issue.

On that principle, while I welcome the CST's condemnation of Mark Israel (although I think it should have been more virulent), I do think they should put anything they know about him into the public domain now. As he's a proven EDL activist, I think that's reasonable to ask.

At the moment, I think we give the CST the benefit of the doubt and assume that if they did spot any EDL members on a demo they were stewarding they'd tell them to leave. If this problem grows, we may need to look at if it's feasible for antifascists to operate autonomously against any definite EDL members present.

I suspect the best we could hope for from the CST if that starts happening is a recognition that this is specifically anti EDL activity and therefore outside of their remit. That's mostly pragmatic. They have chosen a tactic of having close relations with the police which actually means they aren't in a position to support militant confrontation, even if individuals within their ranks are personally sympathetic to doing so.

As such, I think its fair to say that the CST now exist firmly outside the 43/62 tradition. I regret that decision by them, but I recognise it's their call to make. It does suggest that there is a gap in the market if a militant antifascist network does get off the ground. I'm sure there are still some people in the Jewish community who do identify with that tradition and who might be prepared to get involved on that basis. Some of whom will obviously identify as Zionists, which is yet another reason why any militant antifacist activity absolutely shouldn't identify as antizionist. (Or Zionist. I'm in favour of working with genuine militant antifascists from either camp on this and telling both camps to have that particular argument outside of antifascism). It's a distraction from the business as hand.

Migreli said...

You underestimate the danger facing Israel from a Gaza strip that is armed with thousands of missiles and controlled by Hamas.

We have already seen what havoc Hezballa can wreak with its missile arsenal, said today to reach 40000 missiles.

Israel made two serious strategic mistakes in the last ten years. It withdrew its forces from the security strip in Lebanon and handed the area over to Hezballa, and it withdrew from Gaza and allowed Hamas to take over. It will have to undo these mistakes sooner or later, and it wont be pretty to watch.

Israel deserves full support as it creates the conditions for peace by liquidating the the power of peace's Islamist ideological opponents.

James Bloodworth said...

"Israel deserves full support as it creates the conditions for peace by liquidating the the power of peace's Islamist ideological opponents."

Deeply deeply chilling words.

Duncan said...

The Israeli military took the bait dangled by the Mavi Marmara, which refused to port at Ashdod and so provoked the Israeli action its activists probably hoped for

Do you really endorse this view Bob?

I don't think the activists hoped to be shot in the face by IDF commandos. That's what this statement reads like.

The activists were undoubtedly trying to provoke a response from the Israeli government. That doesn't mean they deserved to be murdered.

I think the best parallel to what happened on the flotilla is with the events during Bloody Sunday. Demonstrators armed with simple weapons being shot by heavily armed soldiers.

Martin said...

Thanks for the links Bob. This is one of the most comprehensive flotilla round-ups I've read.

Flesh said...

"That doesn't mean they deserved to be murdered."

Nobody said they deserved to be murdered, Duncan. But if you use that word in advance of any investigation, you reveal *your* prejudice.

Migreli said...

"...Deeply deeply chilling words...."

Much more chilling is "...shut up, go back to Auschwitz...".

This is what a "peace activist" was recorded as saying to the Israeli Navy Officers who were addressing the flotilla.

darren redstar said...

Waterloo Sunset said: "The AFA policy that militant antifascism does not have either an antizionist or a zionist viewpoint, because our interest is as antifascists, is still the correct one."
absolutley correct which why I wrote to protest at the presence of Antifa banners at last years Gaza demos.

I think that what happened on the Mav Marmari was the tragic result clash of rhetoric coming into direct contact with reality; something I try to tease out further here http://redstarcommando.blogspot.com/2010/06/flotilla-fancies.html

Duncan, are you seriously saying that theose killed on bloody sunday were armed?

Duncan said...

Nobody said they deserved to be murdered, Duncan

I don't think this is true. Perhaps that's not what you meant with your comment (I can accept that I misread it; in fact I'd like to think I misread it and you don't think they deserved it) but there are clearly people who think the IDF were entirely justified in what they did and that the people aboard the flotilla deserved it. Just look at blogs like Atlas Shrugs.

But if you use that word in advance of any investigation, you reveal *your* prejudice.

Apologies Flesh, next time I'll use balanced language like flotilla terrorists(copyright: CIF Watch)/Al Qaida supporters armed with terrifying weapons like hammers (which have no legitimate purpose on a ship) assaulted and attempted to kidnap harmless IDF members who had arrived onboard for a discussion about the situation in Gaza.

By the way, here's a sneak preview from the impartial Israeli investigation: "our response was proportionate and justified".

The proposed UN report will, of course, be produced by a Hamas/Hezbollah sympathiser so its conclusions can be discounted in advance.

Migreli,

It would be deeply disturbing if a peace activist had said those words but according to the IDF it's actually not clear who said those comments as they were made on an 'open channel'.

The IDF have also withdrawn their claim, originally headlined on their website, that they had discovered individuals on the Mavi Marmara who were al-Qaida mercenaries.

Darren,

Duncan, are you seriously saying that theose killed on bloody sunday were armed?

'Armed' in the sense the people on the flotilla were armed, with sticks and stones, i.e. simple weapons as I indicated in my comment.

Do you think people on that march in 1972 were out to provoke confrontation with the British Army?

I believe at the time the British Army claimed they were fired on first by IRA members in the crowd. No evidence in support of this claim was produced.

bob said...

I've been busy with family stuff since I posted this, so missed all these interesting comments. I'll try and reply to some here.

1. The flotilla

Re Duncan, I do not think that "the activists hoped to be shot in the face by IDF commandos" and certainly don't think they deserved to be killed. I don't think, however, that Flesh's comment implies that in any way. I thought I made it clear that the deaths were wrong and the killings are to be condemned.

However, it seems clear to me that the Mavi Marmara people wanted to provoke violence. This is a stupid strategy, and they surely share some of the blame for their tragic fate. In fact, it was more than a stupid strategy; I might even say it was an evil strategy.

Re Migreli, on the other hand, like James I find your perspective chilling. If the only way to peace is to slaughter all the people that might hate you, then that is not a peace that Israel should want. I understand and sympathise with the motivation behind the blockade; if rockets were raining down on Stoke on Trent from Wales I expect the UK government would institute some kind of blockade against Wales, even it it hurt ordinary Welsh people. I don't have the solution, which is why I tend to refrain from expressing an opinion on this, but the blockade simply can't be the right solution.

Of course I find "...shut up, go back to Auschwitz..." chilling. Is it more chilling? I don't know. But its utterance by some anti-Zionists in the heat of a tense moment is surely less significant in the geopolitical scale of things than what the IDF actually does and what Israeli cabinet ministers say. There are vicious racists in the Israeli cabinet and the growing power of racism within the Zionist right is part of the context of the IDF's disastrous strategy towards the flotilla.

Abba Eban's famous quote about the Palestinians - they don't miss an opportunity to miss an opportunity - seems to be getting truer all the time for Israel and the IDF, especially under Netanyahu.

bob said...

2. The EDL

Re WS on Terry Fitz's claims. I tend to take any talk of C18 elements with a huge pinch of salt, considering the extent to which Searchlight hype them. And I have not read any evidence of real NF links with the EDL. Certainly, hardcore fascists are hanging around in the EDL milieu, as it provides an ideal recruiting ground and they would want to see whether it develops towards fascism or towards European style right-wing populism.

On Fitz's claims about the SWP and UAF, I don't know enough about the scene on the ground in East London. Sure, the SWP leadership has ex-communicated the Respecters and lost its organisational links to MAB/BMI/IFE etc - but it is not implausible to think that some informal connections remain on the ground. I agree, however, that the language Fitz uses about the UAF is excessive.

However, the serious point I think you'd agree with is that the UAF, like the ANL before it, seeks to trade on an image of militancy that fires up young people, especially the young people on the receiving end of racism, and places them in a situation where they are in physical danger from the police and/or the fascists, without having any sense about how to use the violence strategically.

They thrive on creating set piece confrontations, on being able to portray themselves as heroes and as the victims of police brutality, while having absolutely no capacity to actually inflict any meaningful damage on the far right or to in any way reduce its street fighting allure.

In relation to the BNP, this approach enabled the BNP to portray itself as decent folk and/or free speech warriors, victimised by students, Muslims, loony commies and the liberal elite. In relation to the EDL, the strategy only increases the glamour and empowers the street fighting elements.

Mock staged militancy is far more damaging to the anti-fascist, in my view, than any possible liberal/populist non-violent strategy.

bob said...

(The flotilla again

I just saw Duncan's more recent comment, citing CiFWatch and Atlas Shrugs as examples of people who did thing the flotillistas deserved it. Of course there are people who think they deserved it, and many more people who might not think they deserved it but have little or no sympathy for them. However, clearly Flesh is not one of them, nor are the authors of posts at Harry's Place. I also think the Migreli/Zionist Federation position is out of step with the majority of British Jews and British Zionists, most of whom, I think, may have little sympathy for the flotillistas by think the IDF response was wrong.)

bob said...

3. The EDL, ZF and CST

I agree with pretty much everything Waterloo Sunset says on this in his second comment.

An anti-fascist movement needs to be agnostic on Zionism/anti-Zionism. (Which is why Darren is right about Antifa. Reading Martin Lux's Anti-Fascist about the early 1970s revival of militant anti-fascism, with Zionists and anarchists working together, is instructive on this issue.)

The CST has a vital purpose, but it is not and cannot become a movement or the basis for a movement. They are not and never have been in the 43/62 tradition, and cannot be judged on that basis. They do, however, have a certain responsibility to the movement, and I probably agree that they need to be more forthcoming about Mark Israel.

4. Tony Greenstein and Mikey Ezra

I saw the Mikey post as basically a bit of fun. Greenstein, as I've noted before, has a proven track record in anti-fascist circles, but the polite euphemism "maverick" and all that it comes with is as fitting of him as it is of Terry Fitz.

If we were to judge his integrity by his post about the ZF and the EDL, he would come out of it very badly. The original post was dishonest, as he more or less admitted in the SU comment thread. This matters because it will be seized on and virally disseminated as "proof" of everything the antisemitic wing of the anti-Zionist movement already believes. And, as the M Ezra archival digging shows, this wouldn't be the first time that was the case.

The Contentious Centrist said...

"I thought I made it clear that the deaths were wrong and the killings are to be condemned."

I think such righteous statements can be made based on either of these two premises:

1. the version provided by the soldiers' accounts of what went on on deck is discarded as lies.

2. The premise that a soldier who perceives danger to his, or his fellow-soldier's life, should accept the bullet, or the axe on the head, or the machete to his stomach, or the iron bars breaking his limbs, rather than shoot someone whom the media proclaimed to be an unarmed "humanitarian activist".

If the first, then I have to say, nothing I have read, seen or heard, supports the suggestion that the soldiers' accounts were lies. Quite the contrary.

If the second, then I have to say that as much as I understand how important dead Israelis are for maintaining a certain high moral ground (look, soldiers died rather than shoot at their attackers. aren't they noble and morally superior?) I am very happy that none of the soldiers were killed. Very simply and directly put, if the choice is between a dead Israeli soldier and a dead Turkish jihadist, I choose the dead jihadist.

This is what Golda Meir meant about the Arabs forcing our children to become killers. This is also what Arendt meant when she said:

"..one pays dearly for freedom. The specifically Jewish humanity signified by [Jewish] worldlessness was something very beautiful... Of course a great deal was lost with the passing of all that. One pays for liberation. I once said in my Lessing speech. . .

Gaus : Hamburg in 1959 . . .

Arendt: Yes, there I said that "this humanity... has never yet survived the hour of liberation, of freedom, by so much as minute" You see, that has also happened to us.

Gaus: You wouldn't like to undo it?

Arendt: No. I know that one has to pay a price for freedom. But I cannot say that I like to pay."

No Israeli was happy that people died on that ship of fools but most Israelis understand EXACTLY why it happened.

You need, for a change, to demand accountability from the Turks. All too easy, and cowardly, to join the mob against Israel. After all, these were not poor Palestinians. These were citizens of a sovereign state boasting of a democractic ethos. One may assume the racism of low expectations does not apply to them.

James Bloodworth said...

"Much more chilling is '...shut up, go back to Auschwitz'...This is what a peace activist' was recorded as saying to the Israeli Navy Officers who were addressing the flotilla."

Forgive me, but I was unaware it was a competition.

bob said...

"I thought I made it clear that the deaths were wrong and the killings are to be condemned."

I should have said "I thought I made it clear that I believe the deaths were wrong and the killings are to be condemned."

I cannot say what actually happened on the ship. I have seen several videos, each of which gives a somewhat different picture, and I have followed some of the claims and counter-claims about the events and the reporting of the events. I don't think any of us really can claim to have a full picture of what actually happened.

I did not write this post to join the mob against Israel. In fact, if anything, I wrote it to contribute to putting some balance and perspective into the debate. I thought I made it clear that I think the mob against Israel was wrong.

So, I am not saying the IDF soldiers were wrong to defend themselves, or that the IDF was wrong to try and stop the ships getting through. I think Turkey has to take some share of the blame, and I think that the activists on the boat had to take some share of the blame. I also think it is clear that the IDF action was botched and that it resulted in deaths that should not have happened.

Migreli said...

"...I also think it is clear that the IDF action was botched and that it resulted in deaths that should not have happened...."

The Israel Navy intercepted and diverted 7 ships in the last week. On only one of them did it encounter violent resistance. Four soldiers of the initial boarding party were wounded. One was knifed (the blade ended up sticking out of the other side of his body). Another was brained with a metal bar. A third was seized and thrown over the deck, a drop of several meters that left him badly injured. A fourth was shot.

Only then did the Israelis employ force.

The operation was not botched. The IDF displayed exemplary restraint and discipline in the face of the most extreme physical provocation.

The responsibility for the deaths lies entirely with the jihadists on that boat. They initiated a violent confrontation, and tried to murder the soldiers of the boarding party. Their criminality and malice were succintly summarised by the chilling taunt one of them employed "...shut up, go back to Auschwitz..."

The Contentious Centrist said...

"...shut up, go back to Auschwitz..."

Someone should try to place the accent of the person who said this.

___________

"So, I am not saying the IDF soldiers were wrong to defend themselves, or that the IDF was wrong to try and stop the ships getting through. I think Turkey has to take some share of the blame, and I think that the activists on the boat had to take some share of the blame."

If the IDF soldiers were not wrong to defend themselves, and the IDF was not wrong to try and stop the ship, then how is it that Turkey and "activists" bear only a "share" of the blame?

BTW, I hope you notice that those killed were all Turks (except one who was a Turkish-American). There is some statistical material in that fact that needs to be worked out.

The Contentious Centrist said...

At least one myth has been debunked through all this and that is that there is no "humanitarian crisis" in Gaza. When people complain about how ridiculous it is to forbid cilantro and chocolate into the strip then they cannot seriously expect others to believe that not having such items is tantamount to starvation or even malnutrition. Even though I will concede that chocolate has more nutritional value than is generally assumed.

Waterloo Sunset said...

Darren:

I'd agree totally. Not that I don't think that anarchists should have been on the Gaza demonstration, in fact it's important they are to give a different perspective than the one that's currently dominant on the far left. And I'm at least thankful that they were distributing the AF leaflet as opposed to the anti imp light stuff some of the platformists are coming out with. But they absolutely shouldn't have been there as antifa. That links into other issues with antifa, in particular their narrow activist base.

The only issue directly to do with Israel (as opposed to the indirect EDL stuff) I can see a strong argument for antifascist involvement with is any Lieberman visit. I don't see any difference why we'd treat that differently than a Le Pen visit. But if that ever does become an issue, it's vital to make clear that this isn't happening because of the fact Lieberman happens to be an Israeli politican. That's entirely irrelevant from a militant antifascist perspective.

Waterloo Sunset said...

Bob:

I'd broadly agree with you on the subject of the militant language of the UAF, although I still think that's less problematic in the longterm than their strategy of subordinating antifacism to the political mainstream. But yes, I think the difference between the mock militancy of the UAF and the genuine successful militancy we saw in Scotland is self evident.

To be fair to the CST, I suspect they may have been somewhat wrongfooted by this latest development in the EDL. This is the first time we've seen a far right group specifically try and target Zionists for recruitment, even if so far they've only succeeded with a tiny minority, that's still something that there's no historical precedent for, at least not in the UK.

It's your blog, so it's obviously your call, but do you think it would be fair and courteous to let the CST and the ZF we're discussing this subject in relation to them?

I agree that Greenstein's EDL post was dishonest. And his later claim that he sees CST and EDL stewards as the same was, to paraphrase an old comment from Fighting Talk, the kind of shrill student politics that sees everyone from Thatcher to the pub landlord who won't serve you after last orders as a fascist. Actually, I'm more annoyed with that because it comes from someone who's ex AFA. Perhaps naively, I tend to hold people with that background to a higher standard of analysis than I do others.

Still though, when one of the main things both of us are taking issue with is silly guilt by association tactics, it seemed somewhat ironic you would link uncritically to a piece that did the same.

bob said...

The flotilla

Re Migreli and CC: I admit that my views may be contradictory and am glad to have the occasion to clarify them to myself! I also repeat that no-one can say definitively the sequence of events and therefore everyone should be caveating their judgement more.

Here's more or less where I'm at.
Hamas' misrule and the Israeli blockade combine to make life unbearable in Gaza - but there is no humanitarian crisis there. Hamas are a fascist organisation; the Hamas government in Gaza has no democratic legitimacy; and Hamastan is a secessionist state that no one should be defending on the basis of Hamas having won the majority in the last elections there.

Nonetheless, the blockade constitutes excessive collective punishment of the civilian population, and is a barrier to a just peace and therefore also to a secure Israel.

The flotillistas had a variety of motivations, some admirable, many naive, some evil. Some of the flotillistas, especially from Turkey, are without doubt my political enemies.

The flotilla could have chosen, as the Rachel Corrie did, a path that got aid to Gaza, attention to their cause, and no violence. The MV MM and other ships chose a different path, a path that was likely to lead to violence.

The IDF were then faced with a choice about whether to call their bluff. If you think the blockade is wrong, as I do, then it is hard to support the prevention of the ships getting through. However, I appreciate they were in an impossible dilemma. If there was no blockade in the first place, there would have been no dilemma.

The activists on the MV MM acted irresponsibly and aggressively towards the IDF. At a minimum, they were provocative, hyped up for combat, and some of them acted extremely violently. Arguably, they acted as a military force.

However, the activists were considerably outgunned by the IDF, and it is not yet completely clear to me that the level of force used by the IDF in the sequence of events was proportionate and sensible. It is not clear to me, watching the video footage, when the IDF first used gunfire. I do not understand the rationale for using the paintball guns, which I don't think were sensible. And I'm not sure that the boarding of the ship in that way was at all sensible. I am fairly sure that there were alternative tactics and strategies they could have used which would not have led to the loss of life. The fact that the course of action the IDF pursued did lead to these deaths surely indicates that the operation was not a success, as the loss of life cannot be seen as a successful outcome. Those people should not have been killed.

Even if I am wrong and the IDF actions were completely justifiable in terms of the actual situation on the seas (and when the dust settles and all the evidence is in I might find myself conceding that I am wrong!), they should have also been thinking of the eyes of the international community and of the Turkish public, and they should have factored that into their actions, and chosen non-confrontation. Israel has allowed itself, once again, to be placed in the role of the aggressor and the baddy. This will have ramifications for the possibility of a just peace, and therefore also for a secure Israel.

bob said...

The EDL, ZF, Greenstein

Tony Greenstein and Andy Newman did a very bad and very stupid thing in playing up the connection between the EDL and ZF. Newman should have known better than to accept the EDL's word as truth, but at least he corrected himself fairly quickly and did not knowingly lie. Greenstein knowingly lied, just to wind up ("smoke out") Hoffman.

Now the false information, as is the way of the internet, is circulating widely, throwing oil on the fire. For instance, it is being circulated on Muslim blogs and forums, where it is read by people vulnerable to all sorts of dodgy ideologies. Look at MPACUK, for example, or the Islamic Standard.

I therefore have little sympathy for TG.

I'll think about whether Mikey E is doing a guilt by association thing. I think the fact that fascists could find the left-wing anti-Zionist narrative useful, even as early as 1983, is significant, and that it should act as a reminder to TG about how he should act more responsibly.

I also have to think more about "linking uncritically". I guess that most of the links in my posts are not to things I 100% endorse; maybe I need to be more clear about that, but it would make the posts even less readable!

I would like to inform the ZF and the EDL. I'm not sure how to, but I'll see if I can work it out. (Is Migreli connected to the ZF? Oh, and I did leave a comment linking here in the thread at SU where Dave Rich was commenting.)

bob said...

Antifa v Zionism

I agree on Lieberman, and note that many on the Zionist left and among anti-anti-Zionists would join in opposing him if he visited. (See various comment threads at Engage.)

On Antifa at the Gaza demo, see here and here, including comments from Darren.

Waterloo Sunset said...

Both the ZF and the CST have contact details on their websites. It's hard to know if they'll get to the right person or to some poor receptionist who reads it and goes "um, what"! With the CST, it does seem to be mainly Dave Rich who's dealing with this, not so sure on the ZF.

bob said...

Just noticed that I messed up the CST link in the post. Here is Dave Rich's post on the EDL/ZF connection. Am going to contact ZF and CST now, and also leave a comment at the MPACUK blog.

The Contentious Centrist said...

Something to watch:

"Now you might ask yourself what is Kılıçdaroğlu hinting at here? And the answer is important and potentially explosive. There is a widespread story, which cannot yet be verified but seems to be more than a rumor, for why this tragedy might have happened. People ask: Why did the Israeli soldiers land on a ship where they should have expected to be received with a violent attack?

According to some people who are in a position to know, here's the reason: Erdoğan assured Israel that the ship's passengers were peaceful and there would be no violence. That's why Israel approached taking and diverting the ship in the manner it did. Is this true? I don't know but it is definitely a story to watch. And here--the important development I referred to above--is the most detailed account yet of the connection between the Turkish government and the IHH, a group with terrorist connections which organized the flotilla and initiated the violence. Don't fail to check out this source, which I've found to be very reliable over the years."

http://rubinreports.blogspot.com/2010/06/brave-turkish-nationalists-try-to-rein.html

The whole thing begins to unfold like the plot in "Chinatown":

"You may think you know what you're dealing with, but, believe me, you don't."

Tony Greenstein said...

Briefly:

The issue is the flotilla. Israel seized ALL the cameras, mobiles etc. to prevent any other version of events getting out. But things were smuggled out. E.g. the pictures on my site of passengers actually treating wounded Israeli soldiers.

Or this video of Democracy Now which shows that the American citizen was executed at close range.

http://www.democracynow.org/2010/6/10/exclusive_journalist_smuggles_out_video_of

Have some people taken leave of their senses? An armada of 30-40 ships, specially trained personnel equivalent of SBS, activists who have no training and are civilians.

This was a setup which has begun to unravel. Plain and simple murder. Those on the other ships talk of beatings. If you want to know the truth, it was the determination of Netanyahu to gain revenge over those who have been causing Israel problems.

Of course it has backfired. Does anyone outside these blogs take seriously the idea that a group of human rights activists led a lynch mob on Israel's trained navy marines? Where are their injuries? Not one gunshot wound unsurprisingly. 9 dead, 6 missing and maybe 30 injured - all on one side.

As for Mikey Ezra, my internet stalker, I have little to say. Anyone who somehow thinks I am a close sympathiser with the NF or similar groups needs their head examining. I have 2 separate items on the South Coast Reds Section of Redwatch.

If Ezra was being honest for once in his life he would also detail how many issues of Sussex Front before the one quoted article were printed attacking me, including printing my address necessitating my having to change address. What sacrifice has Ezra made? A stroll with his parents against the fascists he told me many years ago!

The fact is that I led, and seen as such, the fight against the NF in Brighton. At a certain stage circa 1982 they learnt that I was also an anti-Zionist and then picked up a pamphlet I wrote. So writing a 'favourable' review of the pamphlet (in fact it doesn't actually mention the content) and besides describing me as 'Trotskyite rabies' has one purpose only. To give the Zionists a handle to attack me.
That is not supposition it actually says this in the article! So once again Ezra, who likes to go for drinks with Gilad Atzmon, the anti-Semite whose article attacking me is printed on Redwatch, is happy to be a patsy for fascism. Fine.

Tony Greenstein said...

I stand by my assertions re the EDL. A separate pen was laid out for them. They boast they attended. We now have one name but in my opinion, having been there, there were more than just one. And why not? The EDL and the BNP are the most pro-Zionist of all political groups. The interesting question is not how many EDL turned up but why they support the Zionists.
Talk by Bob of the flotilla being ‘bait’ is outrageous. No one deliberately seeks to get killed. No one I know who went on the boats wanted to get attacked or the various other marches etc. before that. Quite the contrary. They are ordinary people, outraged by what is happening whose conscience outweighs their sense of safety and security. Just as many non-Jews hid Jews during the war because they put the consequences out of their minds. Were they ‘bait’ did they ‘provoke’, does a woman whose raped ‘provoke’. This idea of people who are victims of others force ‘provoking’ or making themselves available as ‘bait’ is utterly reactionary. Did Jews do that in the East End when Moseley’s thugs were about?
It’s not at all clear that the activists wanted to provoke violence. That is a state fantasy. I just don’t know anyone in this category and I have a pretty good experience and first hand knowledge of many activists. Is that true of that poor Jewish student aged 21, Emily Henochowicz. Did she provoke the Border Guards, by standing and protesting at a checkpoint in Qualandiya, to shoot her with a tear gas canister in the eye and therefore lose her eye? Are you going to excuse all manner of thuggery and unremitting violence by using weasel words like this Bob?
And thanks Waterloo Sunset but I have been involved in fracas, all 5’5” of me, with more than one NFer!
And this nonsense about ‘go back to Auschwitz’. I think I can say I’ve always come down hard on anti-Semitism in the Palestine solidarity movement (it has been very rare to find any overt things but there is some support for the idea of the Zionist lobby controlling US foreign policy, unsurprisingly, since they boast of this themselves). This tape is not only a forgery and a crude one, but the Israelis have backed off from claiming it! Just listen, it doesn’t even sound real. No background for one thing. See http://azvsas.blogspot.com/2010/06/israels-crude-forgery-of-tape-backfires.html
And apparently ‘ nobody says the Gazans are hungry’. You’re wrong. Dov Weisglass, adviser to Olmert talked of putting Gazans ‘on a diet’. This is pure fascist talk. Restricting the food supply of civilians. Isn’t this what the Nazis did. Yes people starved but don’t believe that some in Gaza won’t or that the young or sick or elderly won’t starve. I’m surprised to find that anyone can even attempt to support this here.

The Contentious Centrist said...

"Or this video of Democracy Now which shows that the American citizen was executed at close range.

http://www.democracynow.org/2010/6/10/exclusive_journalist_smuggles_out_video_of"

Greenstein: I watched the video you linked to and nowhere does it show that "the American citizen was executed at close range.". There is no footage of any shooting whatsoever. Are you sure you watched the video or did you just rely on someone telling you that the video "shows that the American citizen was executed at close range."??

The Contentious Centrist said...

"No one I know who went on the boats wanted to get attacked or the various other marches etc. before that."

What kind of testimony is that? Did you know any of the Turkish activists who volunteered on the ship? Can you vouch for any of them, that they were what you thought they were?

What do you make of these facts:

"Based on preliminary results of its investigation into the navy’s takeover of the Mavi Marmara, which ended with nine dead passengers and more than 30 wounded, the IDF said on Thursday that the commandos were attacked by a well-trained group of mercenaries, most of whom were found without IDs but with thousands of dollars in their pockets.

The group was well trained and was split into a number of squads of about 20 mercenaries each distributed throughout the upper deck, the IDF said. All of the mercenaries wore gas masks and ceramic bulletproof vests and were armed with either bats, slingshots, metal bars, knives or stun grenades.

The IDF’s understanding is that the mercenaries mainly chose dual-purpose items of this sort rather than guns, since opening fire would have made it blatantly clear that they were terrorists and not so-called peace activists.

Nevertheless, the IDF suspects that the group did have some guns of its own. Israeli forensic experts who examined the ship found casings belonging to a weapon that was not used by the commandos, and the Turkish captain of the ship later told the IDF that the “mercenaries” threw their weapons overboard after the commandos took control of the vessel.

T. said he realized the group they were facing was well-trained and likely ex-military after the commandos threw a number of stun grenades and fired warning shots before rappelling down onto the deck. “They didn’t even flinch,” he said. “Regular people would move.”

http://www.jpost.com/Israel/Article.aspx?id=177445

The Contentious Centrist said...

"As befits a once-democratic country that is abandoning its progressive roots and sliding towards an Iranian-style Islamic Republic, Turkey’s Islamist leaders start to control what its people can and cannot see – yet still has the gall to lecture countries far freer and fairer than itself, on human rights:"

The clamp down seems to have been imposed within days after the flottila kerfuffle. Coincidence?

http://tribes.tribe.net/middleeastpolitics/thread/7d740e98-08c2-4b22-9f54-60409dfe1390

http://undhimmi.com/2010/06/05/turkeys-censors-tighten-grip-on-google/

Waterloo Sunset said...

@ Tony

I stand by my assertions re the EDL. A separate pen was laid out for them. They boast they attended.

That's very different than active collusion though, no? And surely the very fact a seperate pen was needed suggests that there wasn't any fraternisation between the EDL and the CST going on?

We now have one name but in my opinion, having been there, there were more than just one.

I assume we're talking about Mark Israel as the one name? If so, was he definitely present? In general though, what evidence is there that there was a significant EDL presence? Or even some explanation of what leads you to that conclusion would be helpful.

And why not? The EDL and the BNP are the most pro-Zionist of all political groups. The interesting question is not how many EDL turned up but why they support the Zionists.

The BNP are more complicated than that. Very different comments are being made, both by individuals and by the organisation. I suspect they're conflicted.

The EDL I think are pretty easy to explain. They hate Muslims. Their leadership is influenced by the "clash of civilisations" rightwingers. And they see Israel as fighting Muslims. What I'm not convinced of is that's any more significant than the anti Zionism of the more traditional fascists like the NF and the BPP. The fash have their own ideological reasons for doing things, which don't necessarily tie into anyone else's analysis.

And thanks Waterloo Sunset but I have been involved in fracas, all 5’5” of me, with more than one NFer!

I stand corrected!

On a more general point though, I do recognise and respect your record as an antifascist. And I get that antizionism is a major part of your political ideology, which again is fair enough. But on this subject, I do think you need to consider whether that's led to a flawed analysis of the EDL situation. Honestly, it does look like confirmation bias from where I'm sitting, although I will naturally retract that if more information comes to light to back up your position.

Bob said...

WS and CC have said most of what I would have said, but I think we need to push more on the issue of EDL and BNP as "Zionist", let alone "the most pro-Zionist of all political groups".

First, there is clearly some overlap between BNP and EDL membership and/or fishing by the BNP in the EDL's waters. At the same time, the official BNP view is that the EDL is a Zionist plot to defuse the BNP.

It is also important to distinguish between the esoteric and exoteric aspects of the far right. Griffin may talk pro-Israel, but that doesn't mean he is pro-Israel. Why should we take the fash at their word on this issue? It's like when David Duke, say, takes arguments from the pro-Palestinian movement to use against Jews - doesn't mean he actually cares about Palestinians does it?

modernity said...

Very interesting thread, shame I forgot to read it before.

WS's analysis is very useful.

But concerning the EDL's supposed support for Israel, surely as politicos it would be advisable not to take what neofascists say at face value?

Doesn't it occurred to people that it's obviously a ruse, a temporary tactic to throw the EDL's political opponents off balance?

The EDL don't want Jews and Muslims uniting against them, so they play a trick pretend to be pro-Israel, it "enhances" their anti-Muslim credentials and makes fools of people incapable of seeing through this transparent tactic.

The EDL leadership is apparently made up of the BNPers and neo-Nazis, so suddenly were meant to believe that these thugs have dropped their admiration of National Socialism and suddenly found that the Israelis are really lovely. Oh yeah, oh look a pig is flying...

It's not credible, the neofascist shits are lying.

Waterloo Sunset said...

@ Mod

I'd agree that we should take the EDL's claims with a pinch of salt. However, on current evidence, I think their support for Israel is probably genuine, from their perspective. To try and break this one down a bit, to show why I think this:

1. It's worth looking at what's known currently about the EDL leadership. Known names are Tommy Robinson, which is a pseudonym. The most likely current candidate is Wayne King, of Luton, who often acts as a spokesperson for the EDL. Not much more is known about him yet. One definite BNP activist (though there's some disagreement on whether he's still a BNP member or not) is Chris Renton, who's responsible for their website. Their bankroller is a far right businessman, Alan Lake. He definitely hates Muslims but there's no evidence he has links to the BNP or any other traditional fascist group. Jeff Marsh is an old Cardiff hooligan. He's sympathetic to the BNP, but has never been a member. His primary identification is as a hooligan. Paul Ray, who claims to have been responsible for the setting up of the EDL (he's fallen out with them now) is an anti Muslim nutter who claims that God has chosen him for a holy mission! He's made both pro and anti BNP statements in the past. Joel Titus heads the youth EDL. He's mixed race and definitely hates Muslims. He's a confirmed hooligan, but there's no evidence he's sympathetic to the BNP. To round off, we have the head of the EDL sikh division, Amit Singh. Again, he seems to be motivated by virulent hatred of Muslims.

2. As you can see from that, there is definitely sympathy for the BNP from many in the EDL leadership. However, that seems to mostly be motivated by seeing the BNP as the most anti Muslim party. (There's also a similar sympathy to UKIP from many). The only EDL leader where there is a direct confirmed link between them and the BNP is Renton.

3. The relation with Neonazis is even more complex. There aren't any (as far as we know) in the current leadership. It's definite that there was a drunken brawl between EDL and Combat 18 supporters in London. The main Nazi involvement in the EDL seems to have been the attendence of EDL demos by 'Wigan' Mike Heaton and Liam Pinkham, both of the British Freedoom Fighters. They aren't attending demos at the moment though, because they're both up in court, charged with trying to solicit people to murder Jews.

4. A much bigger ideological influence on the EDL leadership is the Gates of Vienna crowd, who promote the idea that 'western civilisation' is at war with Muslims. Pamela Gellar has praised Ray and that praise has been returned. That particular loose grouping generally are very pro Israel, because they see it as the front line of the war on Muslims.

Waterloo Sunset said...

5. The EDL have posted videos from the Kahanite Jewish Defense League on their website. The JDL are both very pro Israel and anti Muslim, they strongly stick to a 'greater Israel' viewpoint as well. They've been condemned by pretty much every other pro Israel group in both the US and in Israel.

6. The EDL are very sympathetic to Ulster loyalism, to the point of having used Orange flute bands as a soundtrack to some of their YouTube videos. Traditionally, the loyalists have always been pro Israel. (Partly because of tribalism. Irish republicanism has always been sympathetic to the Palestinians).

7. A lot of it is simple tribalism, as you'd expect from a group that sprang from an alliance of some football firms. They hate Muslims, so they support Israel because they see them as the 'other side'. It's a similar mindset that leads to chanting 'two world wars and one world cup' at German football fans. It's based first and foremost on trying to wind up the enemy, as opposed to any deep analysis.

I hope I've helped clarify why I think this is probably genuine support. Obviously, that doesn't mean that I think it's reflective of anything deeper than the particular stance of the EDL. But it might explain why a tiny percentage of Zionists like Mark Israel have linked up with the EDL, in a way they wouldn't with an overtly antisemitic movement.s

modernity said...

I don't want to get into a big argument over this as I think that would be counterproductive.

I think it comes down to how much of the EDL **leadership** is infiltrated, led, etc by BNPers and neo-Nazis, apparently the onetime founder of EDL suggested they were.

If they were neo-Nazis and old BNPers then their underlying ideology is more likely to be orientated towards neo-Nazism, and contain a profound hatred of Jews.

Conversely, the argument that they are more driven by a xenophobic "Gates of Vienna crowd " is plausible, but I think it would be more realistic on the ground to assume that they are a proto-fascist street army with all the inherent ideological baggage that it entails.

Assuming the worst of them and being prepared accordingly strikes me as a slightly more shrewd approach.

I suspect that their support of Israel is merely an affectation with a few useful idiots fronting it, in much of the same way the BNP use that aged Sikh....

Waterloo Sunset said...

I'd agree there's not much point in us rowing seriously about this. Apart from anything else, we seem to largely agree on the nature of the EDL over all and the need to oppose them. The question of their specific view on Israel is largely academic I think and neither of us would suggest that it actually makes a difference to how we approach them anyway.

As a quick note, I would say that while most fascists are antisemites, it's possible for there to be fascist groups that aren't. In the same way as there's a handful of fascist individuals who support Islam, despite the hostility of most. It's even possible for a fascist to be both antisemitic and support Israel. Le Pen is the obvious example.

I agree with you that's highly unlikely from the Neonazi wing of the far right though.

Tony Greenstein said...

People seem to have problems with the support of the EDL and neo-Nazis for Israel. Why?

You have been taken in by your, or Zionism's own propaganda.

It is a historical fact that never mind neo-Nazis but the Nazis supported Zionism against the 'assimilationist' majority in the Jewish Community. To give but a couple of examples from Lucy Dawidowicz's War Against the Jews (she was a right-wing Zionist):

'The Zionists and proponents of emigration to Palestine were less badgered in their activities by the police and the SD than the non-Zionists. p.118

On 28.1.35., Heydrich issued an order stating that:
'the activity of the Zionist oriented youth organisations are not to be treated with the strictness that it is necessary to apply to the members of the so-called German Jewish organisations (assimilationists)' p. 487.

How many examples of similar attitudes and support do people want?

When I researched the attitude of the far-Right in Europe to Israel I could find only one party, Hungary's Jobbik that was anti-Semitic and not anti-Zionist.

It is obvious that what attracts the far-right is Israel's attitude and treatment of Arabs and Muslims. They admire the fact that Israel's nationalism is in what they consider stark contrast to the failure of British governments to support British nationalism. They admire its refusal to admit non-Jews to preserve race and nation. And of course whatever they think of Jews, not much, Israel is a shining example of what Israel's Ambassador in London Yehuda Avner said when speaking to the far-right Tory Monday Club. As the Jewish Chronicle described it:

He 'pitched his contribution thus:
The audience, which included many young Monday Club members, greeted his remarks enthusiastically when he said that Israel had renewed its independence ‘by our own self-repatriation’ (JC 21.10.83)

Repatriation of non-whites being a key plank of their platform. Zionism was 'self-repatriation' it accepted Jews did not belong. Why would any fascist worth his salt disagree with Zionism compared to us lefties?

Or is it all a conspiracy by EDL/BNP to pretend they support Israel? If so it has taken in Ruth Smeed who was quoted in the Guardian as saying the BNP had the most supportive web site of Israel among any major political party.

Just accept that fascists and racists love Israel because they like the idea of promoting the interests of the ruling racial group. When Israel pursues 'Judaification' of the Negev, Galilee and Jerusalem, Britain's fascists can only dream of the time they will be able to do likewise.

Some people here don't seem to understand the madness that Israel has now descended into. Where the shooting of a Jewish student at a protest with a tear gas cannister in her eye, the day of the mavi Marmara, is met by 'well she shouldn't have been at a checkpoint' or those Israelis who shouted at Jewish demonstrators in Jerusalem, on my blog, 'go back to Auschwitz' 'pity Hitler didn't get you' which I've had directed at me on many occasions by Zionists.

Where the Zionist left has all but disappeared as nationalism and chauvinism rule the roost and a racist thug like Liberman becomes Foreign Minister.

Really you need to wake up and stop indulging your dreams of an Israel and Zionism which never was and certainly isn't now.

The Contentious Centrist said...

Why would anyone want to read with even a modicum of patience what Greenstein has to say about anything? Earier in the thread he claimed:

"Or this video of Democracy Now which shows that the American citizen was executed at close range.

http://www.democracynow.org/2010/6/10/exclusive_journalist_smuggles_out_video_of"

Having watched the video, twice, nowhere does it show that "the American citizen was executed at close range.". There is no footage of any shooting whatsoever.

Why did Grennstein make such a claim? If he knew what's in the video, why did he lie? If he didn't, and was only channeling another's hearsay, then why should we believe anything he claims from now on about anything at all?

Anonymous said...

Last night I went to Greenstein's blog where he weaves a highly fanciful tale of Israeli death squads and asked the same question I have already asked here, twice. I want to understand why he lied.

My comment has not yet appeared on that post.

Why does anyone even bother with a such a person? What can he offer any conversation at all that can be remotely described as useful or reality-based or just plain honest?

What conceivable credentials would such a person offer? He so clearly lies and relies on lies and sheer slander and propaganda. Does anybody at all take him seriously?

Anonymous said...

Update: My comment @ Greenstein appeared only AFTER I placed my comment here.

And Greenstein's response to my very simply-phrased question, was to reply with invective (always necessary for these guys) followed up with two links that did not work, and by way of proof:

"as an endless procession of badly injured people whom the Israelis allowed to bleed to death where they were.

Because as Iara says, 'they came to kill'. Of this the pathetic centrist has nothing to say of course."

Now anyone who watched the footage from Greenstein's link here would have to know that there was no "endless procession of badly injured people whom the Israelis allowed to bleed to death where they were."

There were a few injured persons who seemed to be quite robust despite their injuries and there was absolutely no proof of anyone bleeding to death. Again, Greenstein is repeating tales told by people who were not even eye witnesses to the struggle on the upper deck. He tries to fill up the empty space with rumours, innuendos and slanders.
_______

Let me remind you that greenstein stated earlier here:

"Or this video of Democracy Now which shows that the American citizen was executed at close range."

To my question about the obvious falseness of this statement, he answers:

"Because as Iara says, 'they came to kill'. "

Let me recap: He claims that the evidence of Israeli soldiers killing a man from close range was what Iara says about the soldiers' intentions before they even boarded the ship.

I think there is absolutely no need to take anything Greenstein says seriously or as meriting some consideration. The man is incapable of thinking straight, or rationally or honestly.

________

By the way, I have found on youtube a 22 second footage of what is alleged by the flotilistas to be the killing of the Turkish "peacemaker":

http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article25672.htm (or google his name)

Watch how the video jumps at around second 10/11, which clearly indicates editing.

Impossible to know what is happening, who is being shot, or why. We can hardly see anything.

Another point:

The reporters on this video insist that the person was Fukran Dogan, an "American", even though he has lived in Turkey since he was two years old. He is also described as a nineteen-year old high school boy. I can only assume these facts are necessary to whip up greater rage. How dare the Israeli soldiers shoot an American person even if he is a Turkish terrorist thug? And a mere school child, at that?

I wonder why none of the many good NGO's, reporters or other righteous activists remember that Gilad Shalit was also a nineteen year old boy when Hamas kidnapped him, that he is a French citizen, and that for more than three years he has been kept in a Hamas dungeon, incommunicado.

Of all the evil-doers, the hypocrites, according to Arendt, are evil through and through.

Noga

Tony Greenstein said...

My link was wrong but I've given 'centrist' [centred between what - mass murders and their individual counterparts?] the correct link and in any case the footage is on my post.

So when Centrist stops whining he might answer a simple question which is: why did Israel steal and suppress all the film, recordings etc. of the activists?

And if 'Centrist' finds that difficult how about: 'If anyone seriously believes that Israeli naval commandos, who were treated by the activists who they were happy to leave bleeding to death, were attacked by the human rights activists on board, is he also willing to subscribe to the idea of flying kosher pigs?

Tony Greenstein said...

If I let through a comment then it has nothing to do with what is posted here. And in fact I neither accessed my blog or this one today. It's called having a day off.

Noga/Centrist is just an apologist for any murderous activity Israel engages in. People who can shout at peace demonstrators 'Hitler was right' and 'Go back to Auschwitz' are capable of anything. Yes there's good film of demonstrators in Sheikh Jarrah having exactly this shouted at them.

The idea that a boat of peace activists, and calling them thugs doesn't change things, attacked the Israeli navy is fanciful. And however much Noga protests, most people see through his and the Zionists' Orwellian lies.

Or maybe kosher pigs will start flying too?

bob said...

I started writing a really long comment here, but haven't got to the meat and just haven't had much time. I'll post the first half now, and finish it off tonight and maybe tidy it into a post at some point. It kind of responds to some of the recent points.

It is true that in the period from Herzl to 1948 (the high period of European nationalism), many of Europe’s most virulent antisemites supported Zionism on some level, because they wanted a Europe free of Jews. For the same reason, some American fascists supported Marcus Garvey’s back to Africa movement. This support did not extend to supporting the philosophy behind Zionism – the philosophy of Jewish self-emancipation and self-determination. There were also some correspondences and overlaps between the racial science that some Zionists accepted and that which some fascists accepted (Max Nordau, for example, was a key figure in the development of Zionism and was also an important figure in the development of modern racial science). It is possible that some antisemitic fascists in this period also admired Zionism as a movement, although I can’t think of any examples of that. And, finally, it is the case that there were certain structural, stylistic or generic correspondences between European fascism and the Revisionist right wing of the Zionist movement, and also for that matter with Marcus Garvey’s black nationalist movement.

It is well known that there were some examples of co-operation between some Zionists and the Nazis in the period leading up to and then during the Final Solution, and it is also the case that there are some instances when the Zionist leadership in the Yishuv prioritised Israeli national self-determination over the salvation of European Jewry. On the other hand, there are examples of Zionists, including some of the most right-wing Zionists, much more clearly understanding the nature of Nazism than the assimilationist mainstream did, and of course examples of Zionists involved in anti-fascist activities, including armed resistance to the Nazis. In short, it is wrong (and in the present context dangerous) to make any too overly generalised statements about “Zionism” or “the Zionists”, or indeed fascism or even Nazism.

And it has to be remembered that in the same period the Nazis had contradictory views about Islam and about the Arabs, but that there were more examples of positive evaluations than negative ones, and of course there was clearly documented collaboration between the Nazis and some Arab and Islamic movements, as well as a Nazi ideological influence on some Arab and Islamic movements.

After 1945-48, everything changed. Political antisemitism shifted from a fairly mainstream political position to an underground, marginal tradition. In Britain, antisemitism remained at the core of fascist ideological thinking, but was increasingly played down in public expressions of the far right. As a mass non-white presence in Britain grew from 1948, the far right increasingly tapped into growing racism against black Britons, and after the 1970s they increasingly tapped into the new forms of cultural racism against especially Asian Britons. This did not mean that the National Front or later BNP leadership actually hated Asians more than Jews; they knew they could get more political mileage out of being seen as anti-Asian than as anti-Jewish.

bob said...

Continued (but still not complete)



The situation today is different again. Anti-black racism is completely insignificant in Britain, although 1970s-style cultural racism against Asians remains robust. But anti-foreigner racism has become totally mainstream in British society, along with anti-Muslim racism.

The BNP has sought to feed on (and stoke up) these forms of racism, just as the NF fed on (and stoked up) anti-black racism. For this reason, the BNP has publicly made some pro-Israel statements This is utterly cynical, in my view, and the BNP leadership continues to hold steady to its old-fashioned Jew-hatred. I don’t think the BNP has ever said anything positive about Zionism. On the contrary, the BNP continues to use “Zionism” as a hate term; what the BNP think about Jews is clear from what they say about “Zionists”. In this sense, the BNP has been nourished by the anti-Zionist movement, and has adopted a number of its key phrases and arguments.

The EDL are a completely different kettle of fish from the BNP.

Anonymous said...

"The idea that a boat of peace activists, and calling them thugs doesn't change things, attacked the Israeli navy is fanciful. And however much Noga protests, most people see through his and the Zionists' Orwellian lies."

Greenstein: you are protesting too much. Your resort to invective is proof that you have very little to work with. Repeatedly, the pro-Israel advocates, including the Israeli government, stated that the majority of the flotilla ships were indeed loaded with peace activists, which is why there were no problems with any of them except the Marmara.

The Marmara was distinct in more than one way:

It carried 600 passengers with their personal effects but no aid whotsoever, thus forfeiting your, or anybody's attempt to claim it was a ship on a humanitarian mission.

The Marmara had Turkish "activits" who alarmed not only the Israelis but their own fellow-travellers:

__________

Voice A: "They get held hostage or they get chucked off"

Voice B: "Chucked off?"

Voice A: "They get chucked off - they get thrown off."
______________

oice A: "These guys ... these Turks ... they're not like us ... [we] come from an easy life ... [they are not] just on a boat to Gaza...they're always ready for these things."
________________

http://www.solomonia.com/blog/archive/2010/06/violence-was-planned-on-the-mavi-marmara/index.shtml

Anonymous said...

"Or maybe kosher pigs will start flying too?"

That's from Greenstein, self declared humanist and anti-racist. Would he have the cojones to hurl a similar insult at a Muslim commenter?

Speaking of pathetic.

The Contentious Centrist said...

From z-word blog:

"First-class reporting from German broadcaster Südwestrundfunk below. The members of the German leftist party Die Linke don’t seem remotely bothered that they were traveling with the Islamist IHH “charity,” nor with the fascist, antisemitic BBP Party. Once again, the sordid nature of the alliance between Islamists and so-called leftists is plain for all to see."

http://blog.z-word.com/2010/06/german-tv-exposes-fascists-and-islamists-aboard-mavi-marmara/

Tony Greenstein said...

It's no use 'cc' posting transcripts from conversations on the boats since the 'Go Back to Auschwitz' broadcast, which was purportedly from the Mavi Marmara, was a crude forgery and even Israel's propagandists withdrew it.

Bob's contribution is more substantial than these attempts to prove Orwell true. Yes of course, unarmed peace activists took on the trained navy seals Kayeret 3 and caused them to run amock. Please, give me a break.

Israel also took the eye of that American Jewish student out the same day at a demonstration. It is a state of violence and thuggery, a far-right messianic government intent on demonising any opposition. Of course there are useful idiots who will always defend them, whatever they did. Just as useful idiots (Lloyd George, Canadian PM Mackenzie King and others) saw no wrong with Hitler either. It's always possible to make a case based on lies but most of the world won't even bother with your lies because the truth is so obvious.

Tony Greenstein said...

Bob's contribution is more substantial but still wrong. He admits that from 1896-1948 'many of Europe’s most virulent antisemites supported Zionism on some level,... This support did not extend to supporting the philosophy behind Zionism' which apparently is 'the philosophy of Jewish self-emancipation and self-determination.'

Leaving aside what the philosophy of Zionism is, and it certainly wasn't Jewish self-emancipation (where, how, state formation - since Jews weren't one homogenous mass) it is untrue that there was no meeting of minds philosophically.

Who described Palestine as "an institute for the fumigation of Jewish vermin."

Yes I know. Some unreformed anti-Semite, probably a member of the Nazi party who couldn't quite accept their pro-Zionist policy. I'm afraid not. It was Pinhas Felix Rosenbluth (who was destined to become a Minister of Justice of the State of Israel. [Studies in Zionism Vol.8 Autum 1983 now Journal of Israeli History).

And who was it who journeyed to see the Professor Hans Gunther of the University Jenna and pronounced himself very satisfied, in his memoirs, with the discussion they had about anthropology, racial sciences etc. A foreign fascist? Nope. Arthur Ruppin, the father of land settlement as he is known in Israel. Gunther incidentally was the ideological mentor of Heinrich Himmler and was put into his post by Goebbels.

And who declared that:
'the Zionist movement could be utilized to promote the political, social and cultural segregation of Jews in Germany, as well as their emigration,' One Alfrd Rosenberg. Zionist author Francis Nicosia (Zionism & Anti-Semitism in Nazi Germany, p.70) tells us how 'Rosenberg’s approach would become ‘a central element in Nazi Jewish policy after 1933.’

In fact Eichmann, Heydrich, Mildenstein - those most integrally involved in 'solving' the Jewish Question were ardently pro-Zionist. These were not 'some correspondences and overlaps'.

Bob says that 'It is possible that some antisemitic fascists in this period also admired Zionism as a movement, although I can’t think of any examples of that.'

I think it would be easier to find Nazis who weren't enamoured of Zionism!

It is untrue that 'the Nazis had contradictory views about Islam and about the Arabs, but that there were more examples of positive evaluations than negative ones, and of course there was clearly documented collaboration between the Nazis and some Arab and Islamic movements, as well as a Nazi ideological influence on some Arab and Islamic movements.'

This really is nonsense. The Mufti represented virtually nobody by this point. He was seen as little more than a British puppet (which in fact he had originally been). His anti-Semitism struck no chord. The motivation for allying with Hitler by the Mufti was no different from Chandra Bose's Indian National Army in India - hostility to the British. But the Nazi attitude to Arabs was quite clear - they were no better than Jews!

And the Nazis gave no support to Palestinian struggle against the British for the reason, as Hitler explained in Mein Kampf, that he would not be part of what he termed 'a coalition of cripples' i.e. with the oppressed nations.

What we should remember, and the Zionists conveniently forget, was that it was only in the Arab countries occupied by the Nazis that no Jews died. In Morocco the people and the King vehemently opposed any attempt by the Nazis to differentiate between Jews and Muslims, so all the black propaganda in the world will not change this fact. It isn't of course well known because inconvenient facts such as this are obscured but anti-Semitism never had a resonance in the Arab countries.

Anonymous said...

"It's no use 'cc' posting transcripts from conversations on the boats since the 'Go Back to Auschwitz' broadcast, which was purportedly from the Mavi Marmara, was a crude forgery and even Israel's propagandists withdrew it."

The only thing that was withdrawn was the attribution to the Mavi Marmara. The recording itself was very real and came from one of the more "genuinely" peace loving ships which did not offer any resistance to the Israeli navy. Now why would any activist on a "humanitarian" mission fulminate in this way? A

Noga said...

"It is a state of violence and thuggery, a far-right messianic government intent on demonising any opposition."

Let me remind readers here that Greenstein is talking about Israelies here, many of whom are the children and grandchildren of Jews who left Europe before and after the Nazi nearly-successful attempt to liquidate them.

Here then goes on to complain:

"Just as useful idiots (Lloyd George, Canadian PM Mackenzie King and others) saw no wrong with Hitler either."

So I ask you now, if you were Lloyd George, Mackenzie King or "others' who could not bring themselves to disagree with Hitler's opinion about the Jews being scum of the earth, violent thugs, with an innate sense of their own supremacy, would you allow them to get into your country? Would you open your doors to millions of fanatic, murderous, conniving, dishonest, thieving, Jews?

Greenstein pretends to be outraged by Lloyd George, Mackenzie King and other leaders's policies while he simultaneously provides them with the perfect reasons for their indifference.

And of course he speaks asajew, an insider, with an insider's privileged authoritative knowledge on what Jews are really about.

Tony Greenstein said...

Noga has a problem making a logical argument, which isn't surprising given the hysteria of most Zionists today.

In response to my statement that Israel is a state of violence and thuggery, with a far-right messaniac government which demonises any opposition, the pompous twit exclaims like some second rate headmaster:

"Let me remind readers here that Greenstein is talking about Israelies here,"

Err yes. I wasn't talking about Martians or Rumanians, that's true.

"many of whom are the children and grandchildren of Jews who left Europe before and after the Nazi nearly-successful attempt to liquidate them."

yes that too is true. So because you escaped from Nazi Germany or your relatives did, then we must accept without question the economic and social segregation in Israel, the unrecognised villages, the vast disparity in wealth and employment, the double infant mortality that Arab Israelis have vs Jewish Israelis etc. etc.

Presumably Gorgon Noga is also the master of the non-sequitur. Logic escapes her/him. Is it suggested that because one has gone through terrible experiences one cannot become the oppressor?

It was the experience of British concentration camps and Mafeking which gave Afrikaaners their unique righteousness. So too with Israel and Zionism.

Surprise, surprise, many holocaust survivors also weren't Zionists, quite the contrary. From people like Heddy Epstein today who drew the conclusion that if racism against Jews was wrong then all racism was wrong, to the escapee from Auschwitz Rudolf Vrba whose Auschwitz Protocols were suppressed by the Zionists in Hungary and elsewhere to Market Edelman of the Bund and the last commander of the Warsaw Ghetto Fighting Organisation (ZOB).

Strange to say you can have racists like Elie Wiesel, heroes like Vrba and great thinkers and writers like Primo Levi.

What a strange formulation to say that Lloyd George and Canadian PNM Mackenzie King "could not bring themselves to disagree with Hitler's opinion about the Jews being scum of the earth, violent thugs, with an innate sense of their own supremacy, would you allow them to get into your country? Would you open your doors to millions of fanatic, murderous, conniving, dishonest, thieving, Jews?"

Lloyd George, who was the most pro-Zionist of them all, and responsible also with Churchill for Partition in Ireland was a key spokesman for the British ruling class. He agreed with Hitler, as did many members of the British Establishment because the destruction of the German workers movement was in their interests.

Later the interests of British capitalism and German capitalism collided, hence the war. A war that Churchill fought primarily to save the Empire and to keep India in the fold (India being his main passion not Palestine).

But whereas Gorgon Noga suggests that I 'pretends to be outraged by...' No pretence because I'm not outraged! Given their class perspective it was perfectly understandable. But it was you Zionists who held hands with Lloyd George, anti-Zionists and socialists fought to let Jews in to this country, Zionists weren't interested, indeed they were opposed.

I don't for one moment claim to know what Jews are about anymore than anyone else. I do know, however, that a movement which is the Jewish equivalent of anti-Semitism, i.e. Zionism, with its links with far-right regimes worldwide is inimical to their interests.

Noga said...

"many of whom are the children and grandchildren of Jews who left Europe before and after the Nazi nearly-successful attempt to liquidate them."

yes that too is true. So because you escaped from Nazi Germany or your relatives did, then we must accept without question the economic and social segregation in Israel, the unrecognised villages, the vast disparity in wealth and employment, the double infant mortality that Arab Israelis have vs Jewish Israelis etc. etc."
_________

That was not my point. That's how YOU think. Here it is again:

You mentioned Mackenzie King's policies preventing Jews from entering Canada. Why were those policies put into place? I assume because of antisemitic sentiments. What are you sentiments towards the children and grandchildren of those very Jews who were not allowed entry into Canada and ended up dead or if lucky, in Israel? Anti-Zionist loathing. Therefore I see a certain affinity between Mackenzie King's sentiments and your own sentiments. I wonder why you felt the need to denounce King and Lloyd Douglas? It makes more sense for you to express the utmost sympathy for their motivations since you share their opinion about Jews as loathsome and deserving to be removed from civilized society.

I am also puzzled by the need you have to monstrify any Zionist you smell. What do you mean by calling me "Gorgorn Noga"? Are you experiencing a subliminal wish that someone would behead me?

I would say that your empathy with antisemites past and present is a given, not at all in doubt. And anything you say, anything at all, ought to be considered as expressed from that kind of darkness.

bob said...

Been too busy to check in so missed all this. Going through bit by bit.

TG: Just as useful idiots (Lloyd George, Canadian PM Mackenzie King and others) saw no wrong with Hitler either. It's always possible to make a case based on lies but most of the world won't even bother with your lies because the truth is so obvious.

Comparing Israel with Hitler is both wrong and either offensive or sloppy or both, and you should know that Tony.

TG: Leaving aside what the philosophy of Zionism is, and it certainly wasn't Jewish self-emancipation (where, how, state formation - since Jews weren't one homogenous mass) it is untrue that there was no meeting of minds philosophically.

Off course Jews were not and are not one homogeneous mass. Nor are Palestinians, yet you have no problem with the notion of their self-emancipation and self-determination. Myself, I am profoundly suspicious of all nationalisms, but see no reason to see Jewish nationalism any differently from any of its contemporaries, such as Italian nationalism or Czech nationalism or Arab nationalism.

Arguably, all nationalisms are tied up with state formation, which is why I am profoundly suspicious of them. This is no more true of Jewish nationalism than, say, Italian nationalism (remember, there was no Italy in 1830). And, of course, there has also always been a strong strain of non-state Zionism, e.g. Ahad Ha-am, Bernard Lazare, Martin Buber, to a lesser extent Gershom Scholem.

To be continued

bob said...

TG: Bob says that 'It is possible that some antisemitic fascists in this period also admired Zionism as a movement, although I can’t think of any examples of that.' I think it would be easier to find Nazis who weren't enamoured of Zionism!

I'm not convinced by your examples. Eichmann, his mentor Von Mildenstein and their boss Heydrich are probably among the better examples. But they are unusual among the Nazis. More to the point, they were pretty ambivalent. David Cesarani on Eichmann's trip to Palestine in 1937: "his trip, aborted after one day, revealed the true extent of his sympathy for Zionism: he warned the SD that it would be foolish to promote a strong Jewish state. Instead, it should encourage Jewish emigration to backward countries where they would live in poverty. Soon after he completed this mission, Eichmann was assigned to the SD in Vienna."

They liked the part of Zionism which meant no Jews in Europe, but not the part that meant a Jewish state.

Similarly, Rosenberg like Zionism, as you say, because it promoted segregation and emigration, not because he liked it for itself.

And from the other side, the Zionists who had things in common with Nazis? True, Ruppin, like Nordau in the previous generation (who I mentioned) was a racialist who had something in common with Nazi racial science. But that does not say anything about Zionism as a whole, any more than the fact that HG Wells and the Fabians did too says anything about liberalism or socialism as a whole, especially given the extent to which racial thinking soaked through early 20th century intellectual discourse. There are examples of Zionists who did not accept race science, including Israel Zangwill, who was one of a number of Zionists in the audience at the Universal Races Congress in London in 1911, where he heard Franz Boas' devastating critique of race science.

[To be continued]

bob said...

TG: The Mufti represented virtually nobody by this point. He was seen as little more than a British puppet (which in fact he had originally been). His anti-Semitism struck no chord. The motivation for allying with Hitler by the Mufti was no different from Chandra Bose's Indian National Army in India - hostility to the British. But the Nazi attitude to Arabs was quite clear - they were no better than Jews!

First, the Mufti and Chandra Bhose comparison. Many historians have claimed that Bhose had ideological affinities with fascism, in the way that (as I said, Marcus Garvey did). A better comparison would be the RSS's V.D. Savarkar, who absolutely did have strong ideological affinities with fascism, much as the Mufti did.

On the Mufti himself, well, the historians are battling it out, but Kuntzl, Herf, Berman and co have mustered quite a lot of evidence.

As for the Nazis themselves, it would be better to see them as ambivalent towards Arabs and towards Muslims rather than to say they saw them as "no better than Jews". Many Nazis saw the Arabs as an inferior race to the Aryans, but none of them saw the Arabs as an evil race. Many admired Islam (including Hitler), some admired Arabs, and some admired Arab nationalism. I could dig out examples of this, but not right now.

TG: What we should remember, and the Zionists conveniently forget, was that it was only in the Arab countries occupied by the Nazis that no Jews died. In Morocco the people and the King vehemently opposed any attempt by the Nazis to differentiate between Jews and Muslims, so all the black propaganda in the world will not change this fact. It isn't of course well known because inconvenient facts such as this are obscured but anti-Semitism never had a resonance in the Arab countries.

The Moroccan example is pertinent to nothing. The King of Morocco, honoured in Israel as a righteous gentile, was not an Arab nationalist. I never suggested that Arabs are fascist; I suggested Arab nationalism has at least as many affinities with fascism as Jewish nationalism does.

The notion that antisemitism never had a resonance in Arab countries is as wishful thinking as the idea that it had no resonance in Christian countries. Of course it is true that the intensity of antisemitism we see on the Arab street now is a modern thing, partly a backlash against Zionism, but partly nurtured by Arab nationalism and political Islam, that is by two movements profoundly influenced by Nazism and classical European antisemitism.

[To be continued]

bob said...

TG: "It's no use 'cc' posting transcripts from conversations on the boats since the 'Go Back to Auschwitz' broadcast, which was purportedly from the Mavi Marmara, was a crude forgery and even Israel's propagandists withdrew it."

Er, have they? No, they withdrew the claim that it came from the Mavi Marmara. There is no serious refutation of the claim that it was picked up from one of the ships.

http://blog.z-word.com/2010/06/accusations-that-flotilla-auschwitz-exchange-was-faked-exposed-as-errr-fake/

Noga said...

Morocco is the only Arab country where there is still a Jewish community that is protected and respected. It is still a country which many Moroccan Jews and their offspring like to visit regularly. Unlike other countries, like Syria or Iraq, which inspire not even the tiniest vestiginous nostalgia on the part of the Jews who had once lived there.

Greenstein seems like a very gullible fellow. He will eat anything, as long as it is richly spiced with anti Zionist flavours.

Tony Greenstein said...

I pointed out that Morocco was the only country that the Nazis occupied where there were no murder of Jews because they were Jewish, and his response? That Morocco is the only Arab country where there is still a Jewish community that is protected, respected etc.

That is itself arguable since the same is also true of Iran and its 25,000 Jews. But that too is irrelevant. I was merely pointing out that just as Maimonedes and Spanish Jews escaped to Arab countries to escape persecution by Catholic Spain, so Morocco showed that the Zionist fable of eternal anti-Semitism is a myth.

In fact all Arab countries had similar records. It is just a pity that when the Zionists expelled 3/4 million Palestinians in 1947-9 they did it in the name of the Jews, expecting and wanting them to be expelled. And of course it did stir up Arab chauvinism, though nothing like the chauvinism we see in Israel today.

But in Iraq, where 1/3 of Baghdad was Jewish, the Jews were a stubborn lot. As revealed years later in the Israeli press, Haolem Hazeh in particular, Zionist emissaries went around there and in Egypt planting bombs, outside Jewish synagogues and cafes to simulate anti-Semitism.

Not only does Zionism save you from oppression (unless you are on the left or a socialist etc. as in Argentina) but it will create a little oppression on the way.

I prefer authentic cuisine to the Israeli rip-off of Arab cooking (falfel etc.).

bob said...

To be honest, I don't really understand much of Tony's last post. The original issue was whether or not Zionism has some kind of symbiotic relationship with fascism. I introduced other nationalisms, including Arab nationalisms, into the equation to try and show that if it is indeed true that certain strands of Zionism have had a close relationship with fascism, so have certain strands of many (if not all) nationalisms, including Arab nationalism.

At this point Tony introduced Morocco, because he completely misread my point. He imagined I was saying something like "Arabs are Nazis" simply because I mentioned the Mufti. He read my point, that is, as symmetrical to the anti-Zionist myth that "Zionists are Nazis". Perhaps I expressed myself unclearly; perhaps Tony doesn't like thinking in shades of grey.

Morocco strengthens my point considerably. I agree with Tony to the extent that I think that the rise of Zionism and the dispossession of Palestinians helped fuel the rise of anti-Zionism, antisemitism and Arab nationalism across the Middle East. But the fact that this did not occur in Morocco shows that there was no inevitable kneejerk reaction to the state of Israel, that Zionism is not a necessary or sufficient cause of Arab antisemitism. What we can see is a more or less direct proportionality between levels of antisemitism in Middle Eastern countries and the success of Arab nationalism and/or political Islam. Iran remained relatively hospitable to Jews until the 1970s because there was no Arab nationalism and because political Islam was very marginal until the revolution.

The Iranian form of political Islam, a radically modern revision of Shia tradition, is very different from the Muslim Brotherhood tradition in Arab countries, and this accounts for the fact that Jew-hatred has not been so prominent in the mix until more recently. But the fact that ten times as many Persian Jews live in Israel as remain in Iran is a good indicator of the fact that it is not actually so nice to be a Jew in theocratic Iran. (Although arguably it is far nicer to be a Jew in Iran than a Kurd.)

Mikey said...

These days, I have far better things to do with my time than to debate with Tony Greenstein, but having just seen his latest post,I feel compelled to respond. Greenstein repeats the same old canard that he has been repeating for some time, the accusation that "Zionist emissaries went around [Baghdad] and in Egypt planting bombs, outside Jewish synagogues and cafes to simulate anti-Semitism."

The Truth

According to the Iraqi Government 5 bombs were set off in areas where Jews might congregate. Prior to their trial in 1950, the Iraqi Government claimed that those arrested, including Shalom Salih and Yosef Basri, were guilty. There was not a single prosecution witness who could testify that they had seen the accused where the explosions occurred. The court relied upon the testimony of Shalom Salih, despite the fact that his testimony was extracted after severe torture The radical pan-Arab Istiqlal party in Iraq contained many pro-Nazi members who wanted Jews expelled from Iraq and their property seized. As Moshe Gat concluded in his study,("Between Terror and Emigration: The Case of Iraqi Jewry." Israel Affairs Vol. 7, No. 1 [Autumn 2000],pp.1-24)"It is here, most probably, that the perpetrators of the bombings should be sought."

Another one of Greenstein's statements that is patently false is that "the Zionists expelled 3/4 million Palestinians in 1947-9." Benny Morris, in his letter the Irish Times on February 21, 2008 stated explicitly, "Most of Palestine's 700,000 "refugees" fled their homes because of the flail of war (and in the expectation that they would shortly return to their homes on the backs of victorious Arab invaders)."

Morris added the following to his letter: "The demonisation of Israel is largely based on lies - much as the demonisation of the Jews during the past 2,000 years has been based on lies. And there is a connection between the two." Tony Greenstein should pay attention.

I really do not know why anyone would pay any attention whatsoever to the claims of Greenstein; it seems to me that he makes errors or clear distortions of the historical record in virtually anything of his that I have read.

Ben Gidley said...

There is some contested evidence that BNP cadres are involved in the EDL, but no evidence this is a BNP policy. In fact, the BNP is particularly hostile to the EDL’s “Zionist” credentials, and BNP internet forums make a big deal of the influence of the alleged Jewish Defence League (JDL) influence on the EDL. There is no doubt that the EDL is fertile recruiting ground for the far right, and that it could offer a powerful street fighting and political force in a new alignment of the British far right. But the ideologies and motivations of the EDL leadership and activist base seems completely different from that of the BNP leadership and activist base. And there is little or no evidence of political antisemitism within the EDL’s leadership.

What is different about this moment than earlier 20th century moments is that anti-Muslim racism by itself is now able to mobilise politically on a very large scale in a way that no other racism did before; the organised fascists are now completely marginalised vis a vis the EDL. Contrast this, say, to 1968, when thousands of dockers marched for Enoch Powell, but there was no organisational structure for them. In the absence of such, the NF were able to build on Powell’s momentum in their recruitment. If Powell had launched an independent national movement then, the NF would have had no space to grow. (Although the political leaders who articulated Powellite racism, such as those in the Freedom Association and Monday Club, were separated from the mass followers by a class divide that would have made such an organisation very unstable.) And, in fact, when Powell’s less extreme protégé Margaret Thatcher became prime minister in 1979, the NF’s space of recruitment shrunk considerably.

The EDL today is also a somewhat unstable organisation ideologically, because it brings together two very different trajectories, each one internally quite heterogeneous. One trajectory – let’s call it the suited wing of the EDL – draws from the growing and complex web of what I think of as “clash of civilisation” organisations. These are the aggressively pro-Western anti-Islamic anti-multicultural currents which are flourishing in Western Europe and North America, operating at a reasonably high intellectual level compared to the traditional far right, best represented by the EDL-linked Stop the Islamisation of Europe (SIOE). Many of these groups exist more in cyberspace than in the real world, and a number of websites, such as Gates of Vienna, have played a key role – but there have been plenty of real world manifestations too, such as the Pro-Koln movement in Cologne.

These currents are generally fairly middle- or even upper-class, and combine traditional patriotism with varying degrees of pan-European or pan-Western consciousness. They tend not to be interested in race and ethnicity, but focus entirely on culture and especially religion. They are diverse: they range from fairly conservative to fairly liberal and libertarian, between those with a strong commitment to traditional Christian (or Judeo-Christian) values and the militantly secular, and finally from a more moral majority type outlook to a strong defence of gay rights and women’s rights. There is also fairly strong support for Israel, and probably some Jewish people; Israel is seen as an outpost of Western civilization on the front line against Islam.

It would be wrong to call this diverse current fascist. It is broadly speaking on the right, but lacks most of the key features that define fascism – for example, it is not particularly authoritarian, it has little or no interest in race, it is not drawn to elaborate conspiracy theories, to charismatic leaders, to uniforms or to bizarre mystical thinking, and, of course, it is not antisemitic.

Ben Gidley said...

The second trajectory that feeds into the EDL – let’s call it the EDL’s booted wing – is football hooliganism. Football hooligans are generally ultra-patriotic, and, as Waterloo Sunset notes, Ulster Loyalism has a fairly strong base among football hooligans. Many hooligans are casually racist, but long-term involvement of black people in the scene tempers this. (The common appearance of black faces on EDL marches bears this out.) Anti-foreign and anti-immigrant sentiment and old-fashioned xenophobia (popular sentiments in the hooligan milieu) are far more prevalent than anti-black racism. And there may be casual antisemitism, but no strong commitment to it. If these people have an opinion on Israel, it is more likely to be admiring of Israel’s military prowess rather than any particular view of Zionism, apart from among Loyalists, who have, as WS put it, tribal links to Israel. The strong hostility to Muslims is a fairly new phenomenon, post 9/11 and especially post-2003, as this current is strongly supportive of the armed forces, who are mainly of course serving in Muslim countries and being killed by Islamist combatants. (It was Islamist contempt for returning soldiers in Luton that kickstarted the EDL.) In this context, the Israeli flag is a good way of winding up Muslims, rather than an indicator of a commitment to Zionist philosophy.

The NF and, early in its life, the BNP attempted to recruit from the hooligan scene. The aggressive nationalism, the strong forms of networked organisation, the ability to mobilise bodies in the street and the zest for violence make this scene a prime target for the far right. Although there were some in-roads, especially around teams with the strongest connections to Loyalism, there was nothing on a big scale. Again, though, it would be completely wrong to view this formation as fascist, although there might be an argument for seeing it as proto-fascist.

Noga said...

Bob,about Jews in Iran:

This I was told by someone who is a scholar in Iranian Shiism. According to shia doctrine impurities are transferred through wetness. Which is why a Shia Muslim is not allowed to drink from the same glass a Jew drank from. There were periods in Iranian history where Jews and other infidels were forbidden to step out into the streets if it rained, for fear that they will pollute Muslims.

This article by Andrew Bostom supports what I heard from that teacher.

http://97.74.65.51/readArticle.aspx?ARTID=31729

BobFromBrockley said...

Wow, that Bostom piece is grim reading - and I'm only part way through.

Anonymous said...

Bob,

Isn't it about time that TG & JSF developed a more nuanced attitude to Zionisms? The way they talk, you'd think there was only one flavour of Zionism.

There are many kinds of Zionism.

The Christian Zionists who basically believe only a small number of converted Jews will survive the End Times, but that warrior-Christ will rule over Jerusalem. The majority of zionists are this kind (over 40 million).

The Liberal or progressive Zionists - Jews in Israel and in diaspora who believe two state solution and settlement freeze, now thankfully in the majority of Jewish Zionists and polling c.70% in UK, Israel and America, but unfortunately still outnumbered c.4-1 by the Christian Zionists.

Then there's the other 30% of JZ's, who are hardliners and want one Jewish state, no Palestinian state, unrestrained settlement building, with a sizeable minority advocating transfer of Arabs to other countries. CZ's tend to support these JZ's, because the eternal conflict scenario that results stands the better chance of yielding the Christ triumphant on the Jerusalem throne they're so eager for and the death of their number1 competition for control of said city.