Wednesday, February 23, 2011

So, the time has come not to renew membership of the Green Party

This is a guest post by Toby Green

This is something that gives me no pleasure at all. When I joined the Green Party ten years ago, I did so in the genuine belief that it might offer an alternative to the place-seeking politics that have come to characterise so much of Western democracy. To discover that the Green Party is no different is a saddening moment, though of course it should come as no surprise. Its members are human beings, after all. But how did this come about, and why does it matter?

The crisis in the party is caused by several factors. The first is that the active membership is really very small - definitely less than 1000 people. In this situation, it is very easy for a relatively small interest group to hijack it for its own ends. This is what has happened with GreenLeft. I have nothing against the Left, and indeed consider myself Left, in the sense that it is clear that most of the sadness and misery of the world today is caused by inequalities. But GreenLeft is mainly simply a rehashing of old Trotskyite views in a new environmental clothing. The problem with this being that Trotskyism never accepted that while Marx´s critique of capitalism was broadly accurate, the solution was an utter disaster (and indeed, unGreen - viz Soviet Union); one of the tragedies of the 20th century being that in spite of the violence and destructiveness of capitalism, in the Cold War the better ideology won. GreenLeft is, in general, populated by angry people whose personal ties - or lack thereof - allow them plenty of time to devote to meetings, email lists, and entryism. As they have more time than most GP members, GreenLeft members have taken over many of the administrative posts in the party and their positions are increasingly the default policy options of the party.

Why does this matter in Britain? It matters because of the peculiarly rabid anti-religiousness of the British Left. This is the intellectual critique which has followed the likes of Dawkins, Dennett, and others, who fail to recognize that secular ideologies in the 20th century proved even more violent than religious ones. They blame the violence of human societies on religion, rather than on humans. In Britain, almost more than in any other country, this position has become the default one of most leftist intellectuals, filtering through to groups such as GreenLeft. However, there are many problems with such a stance, not least the fact that the majority of human beings are deeply religious - and it is therefore extremely presumptuous of people to claim to act for "the people" when they despise the ideology of a large part of "the people".

How has this affected the toleration and indeed covert abetting of anti-semitism within the UK Green Party? The key lies in John Gray´s masterful 2007 book Black Mass, where Gray noted the tendency in secular liberal society for the emergence of repressed religious manifestations, and put this down to secularism´s repression of what is in fact a deep human need, the belief in myth. To take a leaf out of Freud, where deep emotional needs are repressed, they return. If, in a Christian society, religion is repressed, the deep human need for myth may emerge in a secular form: Christianity´s long-standing difficult relationship with Judaism and Jerusalem means that this manifests itself in a hatred of the secular form of Judaism, the political state of Israel, and in a repressed form of anti-semitism that dare not speak its name.

This has become abundantly apparent in the Green Party´s abject failure to address clear anti-semitism (and indeed other forms of prejudice) within the party. There appears to be a crass and touchingly self-congratulatory view that if someone is a member of the Green Party, they therefore can´t be prejudiced. This sort of self-regarding drivel is a symbol of one of the worst aspects of the party, which is that all too many members of the party belong because they want to feel good about themselves, not because of what they might achieve. Take the example of fair trade: a recent edition of Green World held what was essentially a two-page advertorial for a fair trade company. Fair trade is on the rise, more available in British stores than in other countries. Why? Because British leftist consumers like to feel good about themselves. Kit Kats are labelled Fairtrade in Britain but not in many other countries for instance. Fair trade is of course better than slave labour, but it does not address the fundamental issue that siphoning off agricultural surpluses from poor countries for the economies of the developed world can do very little to help redress global economic inequities; this was indeed a cycle which began with the Atlantic slave trade, when African societies had agricultural surpluses requisitioned to feed slaves on the middle passage.

Essentially, much of the membership of the party is therefore grounded in a sort of superior bad faith. And so of course, members of the Green Party can´t be prejudiced. If they accuse members called "Levy" of being Israeli academics in disguise defending Israel, they can´t be rehashing old Jewish conspiracy theories. If they circulate emails from David Duke, a key figure in the Klu Klux Klan, on how "Jewish Zionists" are shaping American policy in Israel in alliance with Obama (thereby rehashing not only anti-semitic myths but also an alliance of this with anti-Black racism), they can still work in Caroline Lucas´s office and be on the list for the European elections. If they circulate emails accusing Jewish members of parliament of double loyalty (to Israel and the UK), there´s no need to suppose that they are re-hashing the anti-Catholic discourse which surrounded JF Kennedy´s run for office in 1960. If they talk of the "squealing zionists", there´s no reason for them not to be respected party figures.

To be fair, after all of this, the party did recognise that there was an issue. A report commissioned by the Green Party Regional Council (GPRC - a powerful decision-making body in the decentralisd power structure of the party), and written by two non-Jewish members, said that these were examples of a toleration of low-level anti-semitism, and that therefore a working party on anti-semitism was recommended to be established. Although kicked into the long grass at first, it started work when a senior figure recommended an article by a known holocaust denier on his blog. But the working party was quickly an impossibility. I should know: I was the chair, a position I only adopted when no one else was prepared to. Replies to very calm, polite emails asking for input came there none. Ever. Weeks would go by without any discussion, and if I as chair then asked for input this was always slack. One member only ever sent one email to the group. Eventually, a crisis came when a new GP member posted emails to a list confirming that the epithet of "squealing zionist" was justified. Since this was one of the phrases criticised in the original report to the GPRC, I brought this to the attention of the group - at which point one member resigned.

This should perhaps not be surprising, since the member who resigned was the very same member who had first used this phrase. The fact that the Green Party put him on the group at his own request (total membership: just 6) speaks volumes for their attitude to it. Especially since, in a subsequent email which this member circulated, he said he had long told the party that the group would be used as a means to change the party´s policy on Israel. That is, this member never had any intention of supporting the work of the group, and people in the party hierarchy knew this.

So where did this leave the situation? The Working Party was dissolved. Members of the GPRC said they would come up with their own recommendations, and recommended the adoption of the EUMC definition of anti-semitism. This created uproar, and the decision was revoked by the GPRC through a process that was specially expedited outside the ordinary parameters of the functioning of the council. The GPRC instead adopted a policy that they would not develop a policy on anti-semitism, in spite of their own report. Thus, GPRC has accepted that there is a problem, and decided to do nothing about it.

In the midst of all this farce, a wild card entered the process, which was the joining of the party of a Jewish member who was a leading light in Jews for Justice for Palestinians. This member took to making violent ad hominem attacks on Jewish and non-Jewish party members who were concerned at anti-semitism. In what would seem to me to be clear instances of projections of their own obsessions, they expressed surprise that there could be non-Jewish members who had these concerns, and accused people of having no interest in global politics except Israel (and defending the Israeli position). As someone who has always tried to find a balance between twin unacceptables - Israeli policy in the Occupied Territories and anti-semitism - and who moreover had repeatedly voiced elements of criticism of Israel on public email lists in the party, this simplistic drivelling verbal violence was hard to take. I remained in the party. However, this individual then launched a formal complaint against a Jewish party member who has been prominent in condemning the toleration of anti-semitism in the party, accusing them of entryism - even though in the accuser´s own emails it has become clear that this is what they themselves are guilty of, since they talk of how before joining the party they had been told by people how the "Zionist lobby" was "infiltrating" the party; that is, their joining the party appears to be a clear decision to enter it to fight what they perceive as wrong.

So, what was the attitude of GPRC to this accusation? Although their own report has accepted that there is a problem with anti-semitism, and although anyone looking at these email lists can see the violence of this member´s almost daily tirades, the accusation has not been thrown out as trivial. Instead, a full tribunal of inquiry has been established. The idea put around by this new member is that, as a Jew, they can see through the anti-semitic myths. But what is lacking in this whole debate is an understanding of Jewish culture. Jews are notorious for disagreeing with each other - there are four synagogues in Gibraltar alone. And Jews are loud. Just because (a very small minority) of Jews disagree about what constitutes anti-semitism in this case, it doesn´t therefore mean the whole issue should be dismissed.

Far from it. After four years of this charade, it has become clear that the Green Party is institutionally anti-semitic. Its institutions have not dealt with clear evidence of anti-semitism. They show no evidence of wanting to, and indeed now seem to have decided to target perceived "problem" members of the party who have raised this issue. This is fundamentally a political decision: the Green party has decided that it is increasingly a hard left party, allied with enemies of Western capitalism. Rightly, it thinks that Islamophobia is one of the more dangerous phenomena to have arisen since 9/11, and in reaction against this it turns a blind eye to discrimination against perceived enemies of Islamic peoples, Israel, and the Jews. This is a classic case of projection: horrified at their own government´s attitudes towards Islamic countries, and wanting no part in it, this mentality projects this violence onto a scapegoat - Israel and Jews.

Fundamentally, therefore, not only is the Green Party institutionally anti-semitic, but for deep-seated political and emotional reasons it is incapable of dealing with this. Projection, bad faith, repression of basic belief structures needed by the human psyche, unthinking reaction, and anger to political forces of the 21st century: this is a potent, unhealthy and toxic mix which leads to bad policies, bad decisions, and a party which no thinking person can belong to any more. Certainly it cannot bring about a greater peace and stability in the world, which is one of the core things that the Green Party is supposed to stand for.

205 comments:

1 – 200 of 205   Newer›   Newest»
skidmarx said...

Might considering the most important issue about the Green Party be considered "Ziocentrism"?
After I read this passage:"Christianity´s long-standing difficult relationship with Judaism and Jerusalem means that this manifests itself in a hatred of the secular form of Judaism, the political state of Israel," with it's a priori association of anti-zionism with anti-semitism, I tended to assume bad faith in the rest of the allegations.

BobFromBrockley said...

Yes, considering positions on Israel to be the most important thing about the Green Party would be Ziocentrism. Being sick and tired of Ziocentrism would, it seems to me, be a good reason to leave the Green Party, if a monomaniacal foreign policy and institutional racism were stopping the Green Party from doing the things one joined it for.

The anti-anti-Zionist activity in the Green Party (dubbed squealing Zionism by the anti-Zionists) was a direct response to the actions of entrists who came to the Green Party from groups like JfJfP, and has been carried out by people, like Toby, who previously were far more closely involved in local and ecological issues, and were often far better known for criticisms of Israel than for defending Israel.


Like Skid, I would also question the idea of Israel as the secular form of Judaism, and feels that part of the analysis needs more work. But the instances of institutional antisemitism are pretty well documented, and the wider problems with the Green Party this exemplifies is pretty convincing to me, as a sympathetic non-member.

eamonnmcdonagh said...

I don't live in Britain so maybe I'm wrong but this seems an odd statement, "It matters because of the peculiarly rabid anti-religiousness of the British Left"
From this distance it seems to me like the British Left isn't half hard enough on the power and crimes of the RC church, for example, and is inclined to see Muslims as constituting some sort of new global proletariat.
I'd also question the idea that rejecting religion has necessarily to lead to adherence to some new myth to replace it.
In my view the only reliable left position on religion is to respect people's rights to believe what they want but to offer no special regard for those beliefs or the identities that go with them. Note I said no “special” regard, i.e. no regard that wouldn’t also be available for other identities and beliefs: Welsh nationalism, support for Wolverhampton Wanderers or whatever.

Bennett said...

Skidmarx "I tended to assume bad faith in the rest of the allegations."

So the first comment from Skidmarx is an antismeitic view of Jews and also non-Jews who condemn antisemitism - namely that they argue in bad faith and are liars.

Skidmarx the antisemite (and this portrayal of Toby Greene and others is antisemitic though in the past used by the far right rather than somebody who claims to be from the left)doesn't actually say why the many examples are wrong, he just calls people liars.

WHy do you let such an openly antisemitic commenter post comments Bob ? What about no platform for racists ?

Raphael said...

Could you please correct Toby's family name? It is Green, not Greene.

Raphael

Waterloo Sunset said...

I agree with Eamon on the Brit left and religion.

Outside the usual suspects (Class War, Whitechapel Anarchist Group et al) anti-clericalism isn't really a force in British far left politics at all. And, for me, the groups mentioned go to far in the other direction. The infamous "burning Mohammed" Class War incident springs to mind.

In terms of the "believe what you want, but no special privileges", the group's a bit larger, but not by much really; the IWCA take that position (removing the charitable status of faith schools etc.) as does the AWL and individuals like Tatchell. Again though, the trend seems to be in the opposite direction on the whole.

Martin said...

Well-argued piece.

It seems certain people in the Green Party always have to have someone to attack. At one time it was anyone in the Green Party who became known to the general public, so sad were some of the retread lefties that infiltrated it, even years ago.

They even fixed the vote when it was proposed to change the name from The Ecology Party to the Green Party. The motion to have the name chaged was defeated, but that was ignored and the name changed, anyway.

Eventually I could stand no more nonsense and resigned.

ModernityBlog said...

Fascinating post.

Some points are arguable, but Greene certainly knows about the internal regime of the Green Party.

I think concerning his point on religion it is a bit subtle, and should NOT be read too literally.

Have you ever considered how religious Trotskyists and other politicos *really* are?

Sacred texts ? Transitional programme?

Saints? Lenin, Marx, Mandel?

Worthy work? Paper selling?

British politics is littered with groups whose attitudes could be classified in many ways as religious (impervious to empirical evidence, driven by ideology (faith) not evidence based reasoning, intolerant of the views of others, etc) etc etc

That's what I think he's trying to get at.

That although many people profess to be secular they *act* in a very religious way...

Anonymous said...

Toby Green's piece has managed to wind me up with its conflation of Marxism and secularism. As someone who has no time for the former but is passionate about the latter I am offended by his simplistic stereotyping.

Cllr Darren Johnson

ModernityBlog said...

I don't know, it has been a long held criticism of some implementations of Marxism that they were rather religious, if not literally, in essence.

I certainly noticed it over 40 years ago, and you can still see bits of it nowadays.

But that's not his main criticism, which is that the Green Party as an institution cannot deal with antisemitism.

I think, Councillor Johnson, that is the point you should be dealing with.

bob said...

Harry's Place have linked to this post, and there are a number of comments, mostly not at all helpful or illuminating. However, I liked this exchange: Sarah: Yes, good post – the responses to completely legitimate concerns from members have been (at best) obtuse. Captain Haddock: Sarah AB: Have you ever read the Tintin comics? I am reminded of the bowler-hatted police duo Thompson and Thomson. “A fucking disgrace”. “I will say more: at best obtuse.” Sarah: Captain Haddock – always preferred Asterix! I think in some ways the obtuse element (maybe it’s something worse than that, it’s hard to tell based on formal letters etc which have been reproduced on Greens Engage etc) is worse than the completely bonkers and/or racist element – we can accept that there will always be a few crackpots and bigots – the problem is when others refuse to see the problem or deal with it. I think this last point is spot on. You can't blame the party for the fringe racists who join it, but you can blame it for not seeing why they are a problem.

By the way, neither I nor the author of the post have revealed to HP the identities of the individuals left unnamed in this post.

bob said...

Darren, very glad to have a visit from you.

I am surprised at the bit of the post that winds you up. I don't think that the post conflates Marxism and secularism. I think that the post makes clear that the Marxists of GreenLeft are not representative of the party grassroots, although they are becoming increasingly important. While secularlism is something wider in the British left, and pervades the Green Party and beyond.

Personally, I think the John Gray part of the post is extremely insightful and food for thought, but ultimately is the bit I disagree with the most. Yes, the left is afflicted with a kind of repressed messianism Gray analyses. There are also lots of examples of Ditchkinite militant secularists (including Dawkins himself) blurring the boundary between anti-Judaism and antisemitism. On the other hand, lots of militant secularists (including Hitchens himself) have been at the forefront of resisting antisemitism.

The bit at the end about Islamophobia slightly contradicts the argument about militant secularism too. I think it is more accurate to say that the British left is a bit schizophrenic about religion: the dominant attitude is militant secularlism for white people and Jews, genuflecting to faith for the people of colour.

For me, an important factor is the way that anti-Zionism has become a "cultural code" for the British left, a shibboleth by which they recognise their own. The particular milieu from which GreenLeft (and its cousins like the UCU Left) comes is especially afflicted with this. It's a disease of the white middle class metropolitan left rather than of the labour movement, hence its greater purchase in the Green Party than in some other parts of the left.

Raphael said...

Darren, please, please, do come back and comment on the main point of this article. We need to know what you and the other anti-racist figure have to say about the resignation of Toby and what led to this.

socialrepublican said...

Soppy cursory bollocks

"the solution" or far more accurately the Leninist synthesis of a vulgar account of the symbolism and class analysis of pre-1914 Social Democracy, Russian nihilist volia and Prussian militarist statism. But less us not quibble over what actually might have happened.

Then "the peculiarly rabid anti-religiousness of the British Left" - astronomical stupidity. Literally visable in the night sky.

Then sub sub Durkheim and hack coddo-psychology about some "a deep human need, the belief in myth" that prefaces some babble about transference and Freud and stinks of sixth form common rooms and then a leap to Jews and this pearl "the secular form of Judaism, the political state of Israel"

Christ alive, Bob.

Mod, it ain't subtle, it is staring out from past its own prostate.

Indeed the whole piece could just be an algorithm generated concoction of that peculiar high church style of green politics, all William Morris prints and pre-Raphaelite post cards and dogs with bladder complains and fucking dreamcatchers. It is as much part of the reason I loathe the Greens as their trot wing.

AS in the greens is part of the rejection of "old" left paradigms. It is, to use scientific terminology, the emergent phenomena of this "new left" reformulation. Israel pre-1967 was just as terrible to its Arab citizens, just as committed to realising a workable method of collective living and just as democratic (with important bounds) as just after. Rather in 1967 it seemed, in the then outer left imagination, to transport itself into a forming "Imperialist" camp. Given the dramas of de-colonisation in the preceding decade i.e. Algeria, Vietnam, Kenya, Malaysia etc, Israel was now the primary focus of this vicarious sexy conception of struggle. Just as dehumanising and demonising rhetoric of French settlers in Algeria or Boers or the British was "dialectically" sanctioned and reinforced by events, so too was a similar process now "allowed" or at least useful with regards to Israelis. This almost had to drawn on archetypes of modernist AS (of both left and right) as these informed the very phenomena of otherness, far more universally than anti- imperialist Occidentalism or faddish Orientalism. Note how the delusions of SOIE are direct transfers of narratives about Jewish covert power and post 1945 "Proletariat Nationalism", so heavily involved in the Hutu power movement, basically uses the same models as classic tropes produced by fin de siècle Europe

Israel went from plucky socialist democratic utopia to central controlling evil of all nastiness not by its actual actions. Awful though its occupation of the West bank has been, it is arguable that it has been slightly less terrible than that of Jordan's. pre 1967 About 30 thousand Palestinians have been killed in the 60 plus years since Israeli independence from the British mandate. Syria killed half that in a week at Hama. Tens of thousands of Pal refugees were killed by other Lebanese actors before the Israeli invasion. Pal suffering is just a background musick and various political stripes can choose to hum along when they think it reinforces pre-existing perspectives. The new left saw in Israel post 1967 a chance to reject the post-1945 Social democracy it felt betrayed by, a struggle eairly adapted to Fanon-esque symphonies to the sublime virtues of the "wretched" and a ready made critique/catalogue of lies and slander about Jewish nationalism

socialrepublican said...

This blossoms so well in the Green movement as is, just as it does in western Trot grouplets because they are less idea driven movements and more insular fragmentary cultures. They commonly hold a collective and homogenous lens to the world and confront the rude irruptions of reality with a shared philosophical base. They, in lieu of controlling the wider supra-group environment, concentrate on ephemera they can control, their own and other group members’ behaviours and group unity. Thus a sterility and dogmatic culture is engendered. This is an ideal typology and heuristic but one can see the similarities between the kitsch democratic centralism of the SWP, the preening hairshirt mentalities within the Green movement to the leader centric insularity of the WRP and some Euro-trot groups or Christian Identity to its logical end, People's Temple.

Rather than religious, this are cultic, an important difference that Green does not grasp. Religions are cosmo-plastic, they seek to change the entire world via their message, a quality that political modernisms like Jacobin Liberalism, Nazism, Bolshevik Communism or even the Garden City movement echoed and drew from. Cultic movements are escapes from the world, one considered fallen or decadent or doomed or contaminating.

This cultic element varies in strength and intensity, given the movements insularity but its essentially non-universal and synthetic. Indeed, I've just read an interesting article on the GIA and social movement theory that charts the upper (or lower) end of this trend towards insularity. In no way do I think that this is how Greens or the fearless class warriors of the SWP will end up. Rather each seeks to create a primary cultural milieu for its membership, a mini nomos, deflecting this troubling universe.

AS churns round in this self contained arena, any response threatens the separateness of the culture is dismissed as corrupt and conspiracy, its agency must be nefarious. To a degree, this is cultic thinking’s only universalism, it crops up everywhere. Two soppy cursory blogosphere examples:-

Israelinurse at that Place is reduced to crying "fear the mob" and "Nasty moooslimism" and the cheapest insults at Abu Faris by the glorious end to the NDP regime across the Sinai. Mubarak is mainstream Israel nationalism kind of bastard, even with the state sanctioning of the grossest AS imaginable. It threatens the insularity and separateness of a not-too-extremist nationalist culture and its assumptions

Skidmarx, because the some of the criticism comes from "enemies" and it makes a font of authority within his cultic world look bad, defends a book that breezily supports and propagates genocide denial i.e. The Politics of Genocide.

Ask yourself, would any self-respecting pre-1967 Marxist hold so much faith by and carry so much water for a drippy faddish contrarian infantile libertarian such as Chomsky? Would any Zionist worth their salt in the dawning of independence be so fearful of a democratic Egypt? This is not a result of secularisation but rather a post 1960s world where various institutional bases (of both state and sub state) have been shaken in a rapidly globalised world, linked by previously un-imaginable communications and media and evolving forms of capitalism. The functional AS of the greens is a way of warding off this new complicated world. It defends, defines and delineates the cultic environment along with other markers.

Poor stuff
ps. Marxism is secular i.e. the removal of religious power from the public sphere. Are you mental

socialrepublican said...

ps. Just to add, the Green movement in this case is the aforementioned "1000" activists. There exists a wider movement that might be salvagable i.e. Tatchell

ModernityBlog said...

OK Socrep, you got me :)

I should have perhaps said cultish, but even then as you should know that doesn't quite sum it up, historically speaking

Whilst it might ably describe the post-1968 grouplets it doesn't deal with the group-think, love of static manifestoes and programmes, etc from pre-WW2 socialist/Marxist large-scale parties in Europe.

I think many of the impulses that drive people towards religion can be found in the field of political activism, or so my experience tells me (and I am a barking mad secularist, so I tend to notice it).

But my impression (and it is just that) is that the problem of anti-Jewish racism with the Green Party is NOT an exclusively Left phenomena.

By that I mean, you've still got some old David Icke type Greens in the GP and conceivably they share some of his weird attitudes towards Jews.

I am not so sure that you can blame one particular part of the political spectrum as anti-Jewish racism is a spectral phenomena, that is found across the political spectrum from Left to Right, and amongst the apolitical as well.

However, the issue really is, why are the Greens so incapable of dealing with the issue of anti-Jewish racism within their own organisation?

I'd like some seriously minded Greens to address that issue.

Robert Eve said...

Reading this thread confirms my belief that the left are bonkers.

Esperanza said...

Darren Johnson, has Toby Green then forfeited the right to be taken seriously by you on the subject of antisemitism, because his personal take on the situation 'annoyed' you? Are you turning your back? Or are you perhaps susceptible to the kind of obtuseness Sarah is talking about? Haven't Toby Green's worries always deserved a better response from the Green Party, particularly its officials and elected representatives? Haven't some of them acknowledged this themselves? Doesn't this account deserve more from you now?

Socialist Republican was similarly annoyed by Toby's, but he's given the matter a lot of thought and subsequently enlightened us. He has a different explanation for antisemitism in the Green Party. But he is prepared to acknowledge that there is antisemitism in the Green Party. It resides in a singular, intense and hostile interest in Israel.

In case you are inclined to take these questions as a harangue, instead imagine them in a kind, concerned tone and you'll be more accurate about where I'm coming from.

Bob, anti-Zionism on the left as a "shibboleth by which they recognise their own" is well put. I wonder whether it has wider unifying power with the not-left (think Icke, think Gosling).

But I want to say, the reason this is so important is that we have enormous problems of waste, climate change, pollution, and food. The Green Party is streets ahead on this. It is the only party with a will to go longterm and make a change. So it OWES it to itself to improve its insight about foreign policy and international relations.

Esperanza said...

And, of course, it owes it to itself not to fall into the trap that so many - who feel themselves marginalised by the status quo, or who perceive conspiracies where there aren't any as well as where there are, or who are looking for a silver bullet to fix this terrible world - have fallen into before.

Esperanza said...

Political antisemitism. Latterly under the delusion that it is simple common-sense anti-nationalism. But in particular, anti-JEWISH-nationalism. Because Jewish nationalism is the absolute worst. The anti-Zionists don't know why, it just gets them in the gut.

But anti-nationalism that puts Jewish nationalism first? No, common-sense anti-nationalists from Britian are running around trying to help Belgium stay together, right now. Or isn't Sudan a much better bet?

Israel-first anti-Zionism is about something else - socialrepublican's account makes sense to me (Toby's I haven't given enough consideration to).

Deborah Fink said...

I'm sure many of us will be sad to see you go....not.

After much bullying & constant false allegations of anti-Semitism from Toby and his Greens Engage friends, a statement on a/s was drafted by two members who were not up on the issues around a/s and Israel/Palestine and they naively incorporated the EUMC ‘working definition’ into it. It was accidentally leaked before it was ready, then briefly posted on Greens Engage. Those of us who ARE up on the issues, including many Jewish members, were up in arms and lobbied to try and get this statement withdrawn. (The EUMC 'definition' was devised by US Zionists and is all about restricting criticism of Israel than real anti-semitism).

Then, someone drafted a motion for our London meeting calling on our GPRC reps to vote against the statement at their meeting. I and someone else then revised it to say that no statement on a/s would be drawn up, (because a/s is no more important than any other type of discrimination and is no more prevalent) and instead, there would be a general statement. It was passed. The motion was then passed at the GPRC meeting.

A statement is being worked on as we speak. Toby has resigned as he did not get his own way. Let’s hope other members of Greens Engage follow suit!

What's Bob going on about, jfjfp entryists indeed..I see, so only Zionist Jews count do they? There are more jfjfp Jews in the Green Party than there are Greens Engage Jews and they are very involved in Green issues. They just happen to be in jfjp as well.

To see why it would have been such a mistake to have a statement which incorporated the EUMC (Zionist) definition, please read Richard Kuper’s timely piece which has just come out on JNews:

http://www.jnews.org.uk/commentary/antisemitism-and-delegitimisation

Jimmy said...

When an anonymous commenter claims to be Darren Johnson and also claims to be 'offended by his simplistic stereotyping' rather than commenting on the more serious issues of racism within the Green Party, I think we can assume that this isn't really Darren Johnson.
Darren is a serious politician who would not say such a stupid thing. I hope the real Darren Johnson will clear up this unfortunately incident as well as any traces of anti-semitism in the Green Party.

bob said...

Deborah Fink notes that the Green Party identified the need for a statement on antisemitism after “much bullying”. She later claims that are hardly any Greens Engage activists in the party. How such a tiny group were so successful at “bullying” a party with a not insignificant membership, she does not tell us. Her version, of course, misses out the huge volume of antisemitic incidents that provoked this, some mentioned in Toby’s post, such as dissemination of Holocaust denialism. Deborah says, against all evidence, that these are all “false allegations” and therefore there is no issue. Imagine if the issue were not antisemitism in the Green Party but rather Islamophobia in the Conservative Party, and someone claimed that there is no need to investigate because it is all in the minds of the Muslim members, who have bullied the leadership into investigating. That response would immediately be condemned by anti-racists.

On the pair who drafted the first Green Party statement on antisemitism at GPFRC’s behest. My understanding is that they were two people with no prior position on the issue, surely more appropriate than people who were “up on the issues” from a partisan perspective. Their remit was, I thought, antisemitism, and not Israel/Palestine, so why they should have been experts on the latter is a mystery.

Deborah says this pair “naively” incorporated the EUMC working definition into their report. Reading the report, it seems to me clear they made it their business to become on “up on the issues” in relation to anti-Jewish racism, and sensibly used the nearest we have to an official, widely accepted definition. Perhaps Deborah can suggest a formal definition that is more widely accepted, more comprehensive or more current? Or should the Green Party have taken it upon itself to develop its own unique definition, untainted by the thought and work of previous working groups?

DF: “The EUMC 'definition' was devised by US Zionists and is all about restricting criticism of Israel than real anti-semitism.” The spectre of “US Zionists” stalks the imaginary of Deborah and her colleagues; usually the term is prefixed with “rich” and/or “powerful”. How the US Zionists managed to infiltrate and take over the European committee that wrote the definition is left unclear. And, of course, any reading of the working definition will note that Israel and Israel-criticism is only a tiny part of the text, yet for the Israel-obsessed Fink, this is what it is “all about”.

DF: “I and someone else then revised it to say that no statement on a/s would be drawn up, (because a/s is no more important than any other type of discrimination and is no more prevalent.” I agree that antisemitism is no more important than any other discrimination. Well, it is probably more important than discrimination again Wolverhampton Wanderers fans or red-headed people, but perhaps less prevalent than the latter. But this is a non-argument. No-one has come forward with voluminous evidence of Islamophobia or anti-Welsh racism in the Green Party, but we have several powerful examples of anti-Jewish racism in the party, and this is what makes it necessary for the Party to take it seriously, not its overall prevalence in society. Imagine if disabled party members or Muslim party members or lesbian party members reported discrimination and harassment and were told there would be no party policy because their issues were “no more important or prevalent” than any other discrimination.

bob said...

On entrism. I would not claim that JfJfP made a formal decision to enter the Green Party, in the way Trotskyist parties make such decisions. But the Trotskyist background, the experience of how party politics works that GreenLeft late enterers bring to the party enables them to function quite effectively in a similar way.

I have no doubt Deborah is right that there are more JfJfP activists in the party than there are Greens Engage activists. Probably there is also a large layer of ordinary hard leftists who share the anti-Zionism-as-cultural-code mentality and are naturally inclined to them. There are probably far larger numbers who have no particular prior position on these issues, which are after all hardly central to green politics, and it is not surprising that they would allow active anti-Zionists, who present themselves as “up on the issues” to take control of committees and working groups on international issues, and allow, as Toby puts it, their positions to increasingly become the default policy options of the party.

Also on entrism, finally, a question for you Deborah Fink: how long have you been a Green Party member?

ModernityBlog said...

Good point,

a question for you Deborah Fink: how long have you been a Green Party member?

Raphael said...

Jimmy: That's a fair point. I have emailed Darren directly asking him to clarify.

Andrew Coates said...

ON the general character of the Greens I would say that many of them are evolving in the direction of the German 'realos' rather than to the left.

That is, they are more of 'manage the market' for ecological ends than socialists.

That includes 'anti-Zionists' like some of the Norwich Greens (their biggest council group in the country).

They resemble a kind of green Liberal party,not a Leninist sect.

As for their left being secularists, Derek Wall believes in something called Italism:

http://tendancecoatesy.wordpress.com/2010/07/22/derek-wall-green-party-goes-god/

Green Concern said...

In agreement with Bob, and further to add that the pair who came up with the GPRC definition retreated completely and refused to be contacted on the issue. They came up with the EUMC definition on their own, because it is indeed the most widely accepted definition.

People who disagree with the EUMC definition should explain what it prevents them from saying or doing, they should make their concern about antisemitism clear, and they should propose alternatives - alternatives which help to expose and record incidents which are also, or hiding behind, anti-Zionist.

Lastly, consider for a minute, if the credit for this u-turn on the guidance is due to Deborah Fink, as she claims here and elsewhere, what does that imply about the state of the Green Party's thinking and political structures?

Anonymous said...

A Jew realizes the limits of acceptance by his left-wing Islamofascist loving friends.

And the commentary BTL that seems to have been salvaged from a meeting of the "somewhere -on-Thames" Workers Democratic party of 1928.

weggis said...

Bob and Mod,

I believe DF joined the GP about this time last year.

I knew who she was as had seen photo of her in the local press with the other member of JBIG on a local demo.

Avi said...

As someone watching these antics from Jerusalem, I can only say, "why am I not surprised?"

This is the same mob that bought out the infamous Leninist/fascist 10:10 "blow up those who disagree with you" video. The totalitarian mindset of those who know existential truth shines on through.

Historically, the same mob has always been dead set against Jewish particularism and more recently any form of Jewish self determination. Many political goals will be sidetracked by the need to deal with the uppity Jews first. If that can be done by other collaborating Jews, so much the better.

skidmarx said...

Bob - the accusation of entrism would require a little standing up

Bennett - firstly you make no sense. If it is is Jews and non-Jewish zionists alike being attacked, then the shared factor is the political zionism not the Jewishness. Actually it never occured to me to consider whether the writer was Jewish or not, but then you've already proved the point that you consider any anti-zionism to be anti-semitic by your own definition, a sad excuse for having to argue your case.

bob - I think the Left are Asterix fans. And Dawkins anti-semite -because he's attacked Israel, Hitchens anti-racist because he's defended it, more conflation?

ModernityBlog said...

Bob,

Please, let's ignore Skidmarx, eh?

He only detracts from the very real discussion of antisemitism and the Greens.

Esperanza said...

Mod, Skidmarx is simply trying to frame the argument.

The actuality is that Jews and non-Jews who object to the current state of Green discourse on Israel are called Zionists by Deborah Fink and some other Greens on internal party discussion lists and in public places on the web - and as if Zionism were a uniquely evil position, but one which is never defined. It's proving an effective tactic.

If anti-Zionism becomes the main foreign policy cause of a political party, *if* the anti-Zionists cannot tolerate opposing points of view but assume these to be disingenuous anti-Palestinian racist points of view, if all concerns about antisemitism are treated as bad-faith apologies for Israel, if it's only anti-JEWISH-nationalism which is of concern, or if it's of primary concern, if the anti-Zionists hold double standards and sympathies along ethnic lines for the Jewish and non-Jewish populations of their desired single state, *if* the anti-Zionists will not acknowledge Jewish history or Jewish fears but sneer and dismiss, then you have a case of antisemitism.

Antisemitism and tolerance of antisemitism, is the situation in the Green Party. What a crying shame.

bob said...

Avi - "this mob"? Well, only if we are very loose in our definitions. I don't know of a single Green who liked that 10:10 video. Which was made by people at the right-ward end of the Party and not Trotskyists or leftists at all.

Interesting if Andrew is right that the anti-Zionism is more a feature of the party's "realo" right than its left. Anyone agree? Certainly, the Lib Dems seem to have a similar problem (Baroness Tonge, Lord Andrew Phillips of Sudbury) - and they're to the right of most Greens.

Also Andrew's and Mod's point about the "spiritual" current in the Green Party, which I didn't realise stretched to Derek Wall.

On cllr Johnson, I hope he answers Raphael. If Jim, Sue or other Lewisham Greens are around, maybe they could drop him a line and check he is not being impersonated on line?

Avi, what makes you think Toby is Jewish? I don't know if he is or not. Would it make any difference either way? It's certainly not Jewish members only tired of this stuff, or who want to have a democratic transparent process in the party.

Dawkins on the "Jewish lobby" here.

Anonymous said...

Deborah Fink, being Jewish yourself does not absolve you from blame for using your twisted "ideology" to further the antisemitism within the Green Party. They may be too dim to realise what is going on but those of us who are aware of your poisonous nature know exactly what you are trying to do.

Because we know this, the chances are that you will slung out of the Greens as you were out of JfJfP who finally woke up to the fact that you were a liability to them. Roll on the day.

Anonymous said...

Fink's latest epithet appears to be "entryism" and she froths at the mouth and bays and calls people who call her to task "entryist" She has so little insight that she fails to realise that the taking over of what is an ostensibly environmentalist movement (which had great promise) by a bunch of misguided Trots with sympathies for Islamist terror organisations is entryist itself!

Keep on keeping on Deborah my dear. The rope is nearly long enough for you and yours to hang yourselves with it if you continue in this crazy fashion.

Denise and Richard said...

"...it is clear that most of the sadness and misery of the world today is caused by inequalities"

This is far from clear. In fact the only study I know of that purports to demonstrate this goes through so many contortions and manipulations of statistics in order to support the claim that it becomes obvious that the underlying statistics do not support it.

I would suggest further that much of the sadness and misery of the world has been caused by misguided attempts to remove inequality. Since Communism, such a misguided attempt, was responsible for between 50 and 200 million deaths and misery far beyond that toll in the 20th century, I reckon that opinion can be justified quite easily.

Tim Dowling said...

One of the things about prejudice is that while it is universal in its characteristic manifestation as unreasoning opposition to a stigmatised other (the main function of prejudice being to stigmatise analeptically or recursively without leaving room for a critical weighing of the stigma as a premise - re Ms. Fink's contribution) every type of prejudice is also uniquely molded and faceted by the ocular characteristics of the other it seeks to eradicate, and has therefore unique (and negatively creative) vileness. And yes, all prejudice is pragmatic symbolic erradication.

In the case of antisemitism, it is really impossible to discuss it at all without the due pragmatic (and historically grounded) weighing up. Antisemitism has murdered, exiled and unspeakably disfigured an incommensurable number of human existences. It has helped to destroy every society in which it has ever taken root. It is arguably the back cause of Israel's foreign policy (the "twin" as Toby calls it - with possibly more than conscious accuracy).

Antisemitism is always, always the sign that the body politic or corporate organisation in which it flourishes is sick unto death. This is a historically proven verdict, the degree of denial of which is one measure of ignorance. Its appearance anywhere is therefore a cause for the gravest concern, as well as a reason to desert from the ship it is on, if one does not wish to go down with the ship.

Other types of prejudice exist that are equally vile, just as a range of illnesses exist that can painfully kill a body. Antisemitism, in this sense, is distinguished not by its vileness, but by its exceptionally insidious nature, which makes it possible for the antisemite to propagate his or her views under the guise of defending other groups of people whom it can usually be shown to have damaged substantially. Or under the guise of redressing some kind of balance which turns out to be an a priori feature of the antisemitic discourse.

Or possibly under the political relegation of a complex idea such as Zionism, whose place in intellectual history is multifoliate. Or the speculative and slanderous marginalization of an individual, as if the individual's projected vulnerability were not also tactically collective.

weggis said...

Anon @18:03

Apparently DF was not expelled from JFJFP, she "was merely pressurised into resigning".

Anonymous said...

As someone who is passionately anti-racist anti-semitism can never be acceptable under any circumstances. I was preparing to read Toby Green's article in a sympathetic light but I did find his ridiculous stereotyping of secularists offensive and simply lost patience after that.

Antisemitism is not acceptable in the Green Party or any other political party. Of course, justified criticism of the Israeli government should not be labelled antisemitic, just as justified criticism of the human rights abuses of various Islamic states should not be labelled Islamaphobic.

Cllr Darren Johnson

ModernityBlog said...

Clr Johnson,

I appreciate that you are a professional politician, but could you please restrain your natural impulse to give us a professional politicians' answer, which is to say a lot but not address the points under discussion, except in the most tangential way

Four points which you might try to engage with (if you can take your politician’s hat off for the moment):

1) There have been clear examples of antisemitism within the Greens.

2) These have been dealt with in an unsatisfactory fashion, as Party members have argued.

3) The Greens' official Conference decided that a policy on antisemitism was required, so why was that decision overridden by a group of politically motivated activists, at variance with the spirit of the Conference decision.

4) There is a clear need to address these issues yet institutionally the Green Party seems incapable of doing that, why?

Again, please, try to address the points at hand, don’t throw a fit, read the arguments, have a think, and please be serious for a moment.

Raphael said...

Jimmy, Anonymous, who has posted again, is indeed the real Darren Johnson.

Anonymous said...

I think the problem with many on the far left is that rather than them being militant secularists they exercise so many double standards when it comes to religion. Many who are quite prepared to attack any human rights violations carried out in the name of christianity or judaism shy away from making any criticism when such abuses are carried out in the name of islam.

At least militant secularlists in the Dawkins mode are utterly consistent - which is more than you can say for many on the far left.

Cllr Darren Johnson

bob said...

Re my second comment to Avi at 17:13 above: I was actually directed at “anonymous” at 12:39 and not at Avi. Apologies.

bob said...

I thought it might be helpful, for the un-initiated, to say something about the EUMC Working Definition of antisemitism, and the role of “US Zionists” in developing it.

The EUMC was the European Monitoring Centre on Racism and Xenophobia, an agency of the European Union. It was itself preceded by the Commission on Racism and Xenophobia (CRX), established in 1994, known as the Kahn Commission. The CRX became the EUMC in 1998 with an official mandate from the European Commission. Among other things, the EUMC also published one of the most important studies of Islamophobia in Europe, in 2002, summarising 75 separate reports on specific aspects of antisemitism from the 15 member states of the EU. In 2007, the EUMC became the Fundamental Rights Agency (FRA). The FRA has continued the important work of the EUMC in documenting anti-Roma racism and homophobia across Europe. It is, in other words, is not some Zionist lobby group or NGO; it is not an independent think tank funded by Jewish philanthropists; it is a European agency, funded and empowered by European governments.

It reports annually on discrimination and fundamental rights in the EU, and therefore reports on antisemitism and antisemitic incidents. It is only natural, therefore, that it should seek a standard, usable, operational definition of antisemitism, just as its massive Islamophobia report set out a working definition of that racism. To this end, it published a one page working definition in 2005 (pdf). This has been adopted by the UK’s All-Party Parliamentary Enquiry into Antisemitism in 2006, by several NUS branches, and by the NUS itself.

The text defined antisemitism thus: “Antisemitism is a certain perception of Jews, which may be expressed as hatred toward Jews. Rhetorical and physical manifestations of antisemitism are directed toward Jewish or non-Jewish individuals and/or their property, toward Jewish community institutions and religious facilities.” In the fifth line, it continued: “In addition, such manifestations could also target the state of Israel, conceived as a Jewish collectivity.” Note, not “do” but “could”, and not Israel as such, but Israel “conceived as a Jewish collectivity”.

It proceeds to give examples of what antisemitic incidents might look like, before returning to the issue of Israel and giving examples of how antisemitism manifests itself in regard to Israel “taking into account the overall context”. This qualification, the overall context, is crucial. As the CST note, something not antisemitic when addressed to an Israeli ambassador, a representative of the state of Israel, would become antisemitic when addressed to, say, a Rabbi, who would be a representative of Jews. Or, denial of Jewish right to self-determination in the context of the denial of all other nations’ right to self-determination would not be antisemitic, but denial of the Jewish right to self-determination while all other nations are accorded this right would be.

After the list of examples, the report insists that: “However, criticism of Israel similar to that levelled at any other country cannot be regarded as antisemitic.” This is a very clear statement that criticism of Israel is legitimate, and in itself refutes the suggestion, from Deborah and others, that the Working Definition “is all about restricting criticism of Israel”.

bob said...

Deborah links to an article by her JfJfP colleague Richard Kuper on the definition (interesting timing that he should write the article which concludes that “it is time it was buried”, just as Deborah is leading this witch-hunt against its advocates in the Green Party). In this article, Kuper rightly points to some of the problems with the text. He is right to say the first sentence (“Antisemitism is a certain perception of Jews...”) is extremely vague. He rightly notes that the FRA continues to have trouble monitoring antisemitism across Europe because of the lack of a standardised definition.

But he makes no substantive criticism of the core of the EUMC definition, fails to acknowledge that the Working Definition is the only extant step towards a standardised definition, suggests no alternative formulation, and has no other account for the relationship between Israel-criticism and antisemitism. In fact, the part on Israel is not characterised by the vagueness of the opening sentence, but provides a useful device for considering when criticism of Israel is legitimate and when it is racist. And, in fact, this is precisely what made it useful for the Green Party when GPRC commissioned the report, because most of the allegations of antisemitism related to exactly that fraught issue.

Finally, a question again for Deborah: were you a member of the Green Party when the “bullying & constant false allegations of anti-Semitism” you allege supposedly occurred? I know you were in the Green Party when the report was suppressed, but were you in the Green Party when the report was completed, or did you only join it afterwards?

bob said...

Councillor Johnson, Thank you for your comments. I agree wholeheartedly with both your last two. But I don't think you have really said anything about the existence of what Toby describes as institutional antisemitism in your party, or the procedures for dealing with it, and we are keen to hear your views.

Anonymous said...

In answer to the specific questions/points put to me, I do not sit on either of the party's manin national bodies and haven't been privy to all the discussions but will respond with as much as I know:

1) There have been clear examples of antisemitism within the Greens.

Any instances of antisemitism are unacceptable and any members responsible for antisemitism should be disciplined.

2) These have been dealt with in an unsatisfactory fashion, as Party members have argued.

The party needs to deal with such cases swiftly and fairly and any members responsible for antisemitism should be disciplined.

3) The Greens' official Conference decided that a policy on antisemitism was required, so why was that decision overridden by a group of politically motivated activists, at variance with the spirit of the Conference decision.

I voted for the official conference motion like others. However, my understanding was that the Regional Council's decision to adopt the EUMC definition proved controversial as it was thought by some to stifle legitimate criticism of Israeli policy. This was debated at a meeting of the London Green Party at which I was present. I was persuaded of the case that this definition was problematic. There was then a further vote at the London meeting on whether a separate statement on anti-semitism was needed at all. The proposers argued that a separate statement was not necessary because antisemitism was covered by our general policies on racism. I did not support this view and was the only person in the room to vote against. The fact that there is such unhappiness expressed on this website shows exactly why a clear unequivocal statement on antisemitism is needed and why the national conference was correct in voting to commission one.

4) There is a clear need to address these issues yet institutionally the Green Party seems incapable of doing that, why?

There are probably a whole range of reasons why this (and lots of other things for that matter) don't get sorted out in the Green Party but I totally agree it needs sorting out.

I hope this helps.

Cllr Darren Johnson

Raphael said...

Darren, thank you for this clear statement which gives me some hope in the Green Party. I have reproduced it at Greens Engage.

ModernityBlog said...

Clr Johnson,

Thank you for that clear statement, particularly point three.

In terms of the instances of antisemitism within the Greens, as far as I know there has been no disciplining whatsoever.

As for the statement, it was drafted and ready for publication in October 2010, then delayed on the pretext of “some minor corrections”, as can be seen here:

http://greensengage.wordpress.com/2010/10/25/gprc-statement-on-the-use-of-antisemitic-language/

However, political manoeuvrings within the GPRC put the kibosh on the statement.

That's the reality, even when the Greens had a perfectly adequate statement ready, manoeuvrings stopped it.

I think that you know this issue is not going to go away and the equivocation by the Green Party on antisemitism does it no service.

When the internal structures of the Greens can be manipulated by a small grouping, as was seemingly the case here, then that institutional antisemitism will never get fixed.

I do thank you for your directness.

It is a pity that your colleagues within the Green party don’t have the capacity to understand this issue.

As you must know, it seems peculiar to be discussing antisemitism within a political party in the 21st century, with all of the historical overtones.

brockleydave said...

The simple reason why the greens don,t have a policy on anti-semetism is because it wouldn,t be popular with their members.
Far more popular is of course complaining about Israels activities.
from the green website
"As preconditions of continued favourable trading relations, oblige Israel to end the siege of Gaza, stop settlement expansion and commit to ending the occupation. We recognise that peace will be only be achieved when the principal peacemakers adopt a less one-sided approach."


unfortunately that paragraph does just that a very one sided approach asking Israel to take action but nothing asked of Hamas or the Palestinians.It complains about Israels occupation but dosent ask the palestians to accept Israel excistence .

With such a one sided statement as that its clear where the Greens priorities lay .I would suggest to the Greens if they want Israel to return land to the Palestinians its only going to be possible through providing Israel with security and its recognition from its enemies.
The threat is that the Greens will organise a economic boycott of israel unless they meet Green demands .

This threat against Israel and clear message that the Greens think Israel is the cause of much terrorism in the world will be music to anti-zionist ears.

The problem with being so anti-zionist its likely to attract anti-semites.

As I always say being anti-zionist does not mean you are anti-semetic ,but it sure helps.

With programmes such as the promise taking a firm anti-jewish line (despite the director being a jew) .If you watch that you might end up thinking most jews supported the Irgun and that the Arabs and the British were only ever victims to jewish fanatics.

The view on the left is jews are always aggressors .The Greens anti-big business fits well with anti-semitic explanations on bankers ,bernie madoff ,Philip Green etc etc doing the rounds.
The popular anti-globalisation ideas fit in well with anti-semetic views on who are the iluminati and other conspiracies even if they are shared by the far right and islamic extremists.

The Greens also contain many animal rights people which attracts some with a anti-semetic view on kosher food.

In short many views of Greens happen to be not a million miles away from various anti semetic conspiracists .The anti-semetic conspiracists therefore find it just that bit easier to influence Green members thinking.


We should never forget that the left have been influenced by the marxist and national socialist cliches about jews being evil capitalists.
It,s just a lit
tle bit more than a coincidence that the Greens havent been able to pass measures opposing anti-semetism.
Very revealing that they were concern,d it might dilute their anti-Israel approach.

as a jew i would urge people to keep well away from the Greens .

Martin said...

I'm sure many of us will be sad to see you go....not.

Ah, Deborah. Thank you for your comment. You are confirming that my decision to resign my membership of the Green Party all those years ago was, indeed, the right one.

There have always been anti-Semites in the Green Party. They would leap to their feet at conference, beards trembling with unsuppressed rage (for some reason they were mainly males and always very ANGRY!! and aggressive) as they would raise spurious points of order and try to shoehorn in attacks on Israel (they always managed to make the name 'Israel' sound like a swearword) on motions that had nothing whatsoever to do with Israel, Arabs or the Middle East in general.

They should have been dealt with at the time, 15 or so years ago. The problem is that for some reason the leadership of the Green Party/Ecology Party allowed them to carry on without censoring them.

It's no good claiming that allegations of anti-Semitism within the Green Party are false, because they are not false, this was happening years ago, and they were not expelled then, as they should have been.

Instead much more time was spent at conference debating really vital topics like: "Do we really, really need to have T.V. cameras at conference?" and the like.

At my first conference (back in the days when it was still called The Ecology Party) I got to chatting to a Daily Telegraph journalist of some years standing.

Someone jumped to their feet and began ranting about God knew what. Several other people began shouting in agreement and the journalist nodded, grinned, and said: "I was wondering where all the loonies had gone from the Liberal Party conferences. I don't have to worry, any more. I have found them here!"

Infiltrated by all and sundry, it's name changed by a rigged vote, The Ecology Party/Green Party never really stood a chance, did it?

Anonymous said...

"Infiltrated by all and sundry, it's name changed by a rigged vote"
Martin - re the vote on the Party's name change.

It was not rigged. A motion was tabled in 1984 (by Lewisham & Greenwich local party as it happens) to change the name from Ecology Party to Green Party. The motion fell.

A new motion was brought back a year later and was carried. No conspiracies - just a case of members changing their minds over a twelve month period.

Cllr Darren Johnson

ModernityBlog said...

Cllr Johnstone,

Given your views seem to be at variance with this activist chunk in the GP, do you feel that it would be possible to get ANY policy thru on antisemitism in the Greens?

Or should we simply resign ourselves to this continuing spectacle for years to come?

Obviously, as a professional politician, you realise how calamitous even the hint of antisemitism in the Green party must be, politically speaking?

But how can you win this argument, if your party interlocutors are a little bit, impervious to reason ?

All they seem to care about is their pet hatreds and obsessions and not the long-term future of the Greens. Not a good combination.

All in all, it looks VERY bad from the outside.

Deborah Fink said...

I really have not got the time to respond to this nonsense, but just to set the record straight on one issue, I did not resign from JfJfP, but merely my position as Recruitment Officer. 'Weggis' (Alan Howe) has misrepresented what I said on an internal list. If you look at the JfJfP signatory list, I am still there and I do help them from time to time but am very busy with J-BIG.

Those who wrote the original a/s statement, fell into a trap. Anyone who is up on the issues of Israel/Palestine, will understand how the meaning of anti-semitism has been changed by lobbyists to mean criticism of Israel. It's funny how most of the Jews in the party don't think there's a problem with anti-Semitism - only the 2 or so Greengages.
Please read this article for more insight into this EUMC 'definition'.
http://www.jnews.org.uk/commentary/antisemitism-and-delegitimisation

Waterloo Sunset said...

Hmm, Martin, I know enough about the Green Party that I think I can roughly place which ideological wing you're from. And I think that getting into debates about the name change, television cameras or, indeed, going into coalition with Tories would be a distraction here from the actual issue, which is Toby's experiences in the Green Party and how seriously (or not) the Greens are currently taking stamping out antisemitism.

Unless you want to discuss how the right wing of the Greens were a major player in pushing Icke to prominence, than did absolutely nothing when he started peddling the Protocols. (In fact, as I recall, the campaigning against Icke from within the Greens was largely spearheaded by the crowd surrounding Open Eye magazine and the Green Party Anti Racist-Anti Fascist Committee, both firmly on the left of the Green Party). So, in fact, one of the earliest issues surrounding antisemitism in the Greens sprang from the faction I'd be prepared to place a bet on you being at least sympathetic to. Neither the left or the right wing of the Greens are totally to blame on this, but neither does either have completely clean hands.

In other words, if you want to try and fight an irrelevant factional fight on this issue, feel free. But be aware that it might not entirely take place on your terms. Some of us still haven't quite forgiven your lot for the Icke business.

bob said...

Thanks for coming back to us Deborah, and sorry your comment got trapped in the spam queue. I know you are pressed for time, but could you just quickly answer my questions on when you joined the Green Party.

It's funny how most of the Jews in the party don't think there's a problem with anti-Semitism - only the 2 or so Greengages.
Read this statement as: "it's funny how most Muslims in the Consservative party don't have a problem with Islamophobia, just a couple of extremists" and you'll see how absurd it is. Concern about racism is neither limited to its victims nor likely to be expressed by all of its victims. The point is not who is offended, but how to deal with the evidence of things like promotoing Holocaust deniers, distributing KKK material, etc.

Anyone who is up on the issues of Israel/Palestine, will understand how the meaning of anti-semitism has been changed by lobbyists to mean criticism of Israel.
I'm not sure what being "up on the issues" means, but it is very elitist to say that only people who follow what is going on in Iz/Pal have a right to comment on racism in their party. It is probably in part this attitude ("we, the good Jews, know best about what the bad Jews are doing, so you rank and file Greens had better shut up and let us dictate the terms") that has helped close down this debate, by intimidating ordinary non-Jewish members into being afraid of not being righteous enough in relation to The Most Uniquely Evil Country in the world.

bob said...

Anyone who is up on the issues of Israel/Palestine, will understand how the meaning of anti-semitism has been changed by lobbyists to mean criticism of Israel.

Except that the EUMC Working Definition explicitly says that criticism of Israel is not necessarily antisemitic!

How, by the way, did these "lobbyists" manage to get their tentacles into the European Union's agencies? Probably the same way they managed to stop the EU funding Palestine...
http://ec.europa.eu/delegations/westbank/projects/case_studies/index_en.htm

skidmarx said...

Bob - I don't think that that Dawkins quote, even assuming that Professor Norm's assumption that it is accurate says very much. Of course, if you think that using the term Jewish lobby rather than pro-Israel lobby is a sure sign that that he's a Protocolphiliac, then you'll undoubtedly disagree.

Modernity - of course you want to ignore what I say, because you're a hypocrite who has a methodology of endlessly demanding answers to loaded questions from the Left so that you can pick from the carcass to twist words to fit your prejudices, but refuse to answer detailed questions that would expose your own opinions to scrutiny. If you had any genuine decency, you would be objecting to Bennett's accusation of anti-semitism at the start of this thread. But then you can't see such distortions and false accusations, or choose to ignore them even when they are under your nose.

Esperenza - Skidmarx is simply trying to frame the argument.
Well aren't we all? Actually all I've done so far, apart from defend myself from the classic false accusation of racism thrown regularly at anti-zionists, is to suugest that there is an element of the Humpty Dumpty School of Lexicography in what Bob writes (though still vastly more in many of the supporting cast).
as if Zionism were a uniquely evil position, but one which is never defined.
Your the one saying it's claimed to be uniquely evil, not me (just as I've seen modernity claim that another anti-zionist was talking about "sh, you know who" on Dave Osler's blog, another dishonest case of "I can decide what you're saying". Actually there's the dictionary defintion a couple of threads back on this blog, if you care to check, come back, and apologise for your misstatement.

skidmarx said...

*if* the anti-Zionists cannot tolerate opposing points of view but assume these to be disingenuous anti-Palestinian racist points of view,
Would seem to be t'other way about, that zionists can't tolerate the expression of anti-zionist views, preferring to dismiss them as racist. See Bennett's comment at the start of this thread. Perhaps now would be a good time to disassociate yourself from his view.
if all concerns about antisemitism are treated as bad-faith apologies for Israel
They're not.

Anonymous said...

So Fink doesn't have the time "to respond to this nonsense."

Typical of the type really and predictable given that she has begun the nonsense she won't respond to.

Why can't you reply, Deborah deah, scrapper that you are? Are you devoting your energies to something more poisonous, perhaps?

Do tell!

Sarah AB said...

skdimarx - what do you think of the email which prompted a complaint discussed here?

http://greensengage.wordpress.com/2010/09/10/very-cunning-nazis-infiltrate-the-green-party/

If you extract the criticisms of Israel implied in that message - it should surely be possible to articulate those in a non-offensive way, and in a relevant context. Raising a concern about this email does not in any way equate to wanting to shut down criticism of Israel.

skidmarx said...

Sarah AB - I hope this reply appears, as the first half of my last comment has failed to appear, and I was going to post more in reply to Esperanza but was reluctant to bother if it was going to get stuck in the spam filter.
I've had a look at the Green Engage article.

1. The opening paragraph seems full of Ipse-dixitism[My missing comment has a reference to the same link under the title "Humpty Dumpty School of Lexicography" which seems to be rife in the anti-anti-zionist community].

2.Circulating the BNP material unlabelled seems quite stupid, the e-mail doesn't seem very smart either.

3.There seems to be some context that the Green Engage people want to skate over. From the judgement:
the last posting, which you saw as a personal attack, was in
fact prompted by a suggestion from A N Other person that XXX was
himself a Nazi infiltrator who was deliberately trying to promulgate BNP
ideas
.None of this context is explained in either the article or the complaint. It might also be said that the complaint refers to the offensive posting as "an e-mail" throughout when it is a posting on a bulletin board, which somewhat mitigates the personalised nature of it (I'm not saying that incivility in comment boxes is laudable, just that there is a difference between someone posting death threats through your door and shouting at you from across the street).
I'll post the next, and hopefully last bit separately, as length may be a factor in appearance.

skidmarx said...

4. Reading the e-mail and the complaint again:
There are no threats made, so the claim of harassment seems very weak.
Again without the context of the previous comments made quite whether it was responding in a low form to an already gutter-level debate is hard to assess. There would seem to be two main objections that I can see (again, not spelled out in the complaint, which assumes that the offence is there for all to see and so doesn't need spelling out) the several references to NAZIS and the use of the word "cunning", which is presumably meant to mean that the writer is repeating an anti-semitic trope and must therefore be a racist attacking all Jews through this unwarranted assault on one. I think I've said before that I don't think that calling Israeli state agents, let alone their mere cheerleaders Nazis, is particularly productive, that if the Israelis don't want that happening they should stop killing Palestinians and stealing their land so that Israelis might have lebensraum, and that the much more common assertion that anti-zionists are anti-semites and Nazis [see start of thread] is far more misplaced and equally offensive. It might be smarter not to use the word cunning to append to one [I presume] supporter of the Israeli state because of this obsession of its supporters that any adjective labelling one Jew, or non-Jewish zionist, is being applied to them all, but that doesn't make that identification true or reasonable.[I might add here that I mentioned the Lindsey German shibboleth thing from a couple of Bob posts ago to a friend who had no time for the Muslim nature of Respect, who said it might not have been the smartest thing to say because "the British Left are like piranhas"]

What do you think?

Sarah AB said...

Skidmarx - thanks for your response. Yes, circulating the BNP material seemed stupid, but not intentionally offensive, I don't think. If I understand you correctly the person who did that was accused of him/herself supporting the BNP - very understandable to be upset, and reply sharply, but not to reply in that nasty and insinuating way to RL. I understand your point about email - a completely personal email is more threatening than an email response on a bulletin board mailing list thingy which is more threatening in turn than one posted on a blog like this perhaps. But that Zionazi message was more than just uncivil - I don't think it amounted to a threat but it was titled 'beware' and I certainly think it's reasonable to be upset by it and, if it was written by a another member of a party that one wants to think of as a comrade or colleague, to feel particularly hurt and ask for an apology. I don't think the message has to constitute an attack on all Jews to be construed as antisemitic. This is a nasty taunt at an individual (who is Jewish or has a Jewish name) which invokes antisemitic tropes.

Gordon said...

Sorry, but yup, I was on the email list, and think it's not unreasonable to suppose that someone sending an email from the BNP with no explanation is promoting the BNP. As it was the email was explained away with the suggestion that the emailer was having mental health issues and/or was making a cry for attention. Understandable, but does not excuse personal attacks. People have to be defended from attack even by people who are being excused as not in control of their actions.

Anonymous said...

I am glad Darren admits problems, cause I wrote to him in 2000 about problems and my own resignation long before this storm. It included also at the time neglect of issues that concerned other ethnic minorities. My impression of the GP after one year in it. Some great individuals, alongside some Green fascists. Coming from Germany I was deeply disappointed to see the English GP so lost in the the Keep Britain tidy campaign, except sometimes tidy concerned people rather than waste.

Isca Stieglitz said...

Dear Darren,
you cannot know, that whatever happens from now on, your words have brought tears of relief.

All political parties have intense conflicts, but to have recognition of ‘pain’ amongst that conflict matters; it matters a lot.

I hope the same is extended, from someone, to my friend at her up and coming Tribunal, I want for her not to feel alone.

For me, it appears that when the EUMC was discussed there was no one to put the other side namely; state clearly what it is that cannot be said as legitimate criticism of Israel with the EUMC in place?

I have not seen that expressed anywhere.

Without a clear and open debate I’m at a loss as to see how this is democratic.

If anyone is suggesting that they are fighting for the right to use Nazi metaphor or analogy, then think about what you are asking for.

"We are fighting for the right to use Nazi termonology!"

Is it just me or is this wrong on so many levels and from within the Green Party?! Try my argument here: http://greensengage.wordpress.com/2010/11/11/to-completely-consume-by-fire-jessica-goldfinch/

You have been very courageous Darren. Thank you

skidmarx said...

Gordon - it's not unreasonable to suppose that someone sending an email from the BNP with no explanation is promoting the BNP.
No it's not, though it may be worth listening to the explanation. Before concluding that it was stupid.
Oh, and if you're the same Gordon who used to live off Seven Sisters Road and signed my last passport photo, I'll hopefully catch up with you at one of Tom's cabaret nights.

Sarah AB -If I understand you correctly the person who did that was accused of him/herself supporting the BNP
Well that's what I get from a couple of quick scans of the judgement.
that Zionazi message was more than just uncivil - I don't think it amounted to a threat but it was titled 'beware'
From the content of the message it would seem to be directing the subject line at Green Party members to alert them rather than at the supposed victim to threaten him.
I don't think the message has to constitute an attack on all Jews to be construed as antisemitic. This is a nasty taunt at an individual (who is Jewish or has a Jewish name) which invokes antisemitic tropes.
Since when has sharing the attributes of a Nazi an anti-semitic trope? I would have thought it was the exact opposite.
Is "cunning" an anti-semitic trope? It's use to imply something about the essential nature of its target would seem to be belied by the use of the phrase "below average intelligence in the previous paragraph.
Points 1-4 are clearly made about the actions of the Israeli state not about the alleged victim. This only leaves the preamble to the points and point 5, the first of which seems noticeably ill-advised, but I'd be reluctant to make any judgement of it without seeing at least the rest of the exchange, while the latter might well be borne out by the context.

I might add that I have been subject to defamation and harassment by sackcloth and ashes for months (actual defamation in his accusations of genocide denial, support for Hutu Power, "Strasserite filth" etc., and harassment in that it wasn't one isolated case of abuse, but a systematic campaign of intimidation to try and stop me commenting on threads on websites he frequents), that in its intensity and frequency goes far beyond the posting you brought up, yet I've seen nobody who's shouting about "anti-semitism" and the Greens object to that. This posting is a bit like Bennett's description of me on this thread: one particular example of abuse that I could ignore or point out the flaws in.

Bennett said...

One things for sure - whenever antisemitism linked to Israel is mentioned on a progressive blog, Skidmarx will be there to defend it and to excuse it. It's what antisemites have always done (though usualy from a far-right antisemitic point of view).

Bennett said...

Skidmarx like all antisemites claims he's being abused when peoople challenge his racism. Classical tactic of a right wing antisemite throughout the last hundred years or so.

Bennett said...

Isca - the proof of the pudding is what Darren now does to combat this antisemitism. Let's see what he does to protest against the disgusting show trial tribunal that's mentioned.

Raphael said...

skidmarx: it really is not so complicated. I was the target of the ZioNazi e-mail. I have not ever accused anyone of being a Nazi and I do not do BNP=Nazi comparisons. Yet, I was the target of that threatening e-mail which used Israel=Nazi comparisons to attack some cunning Green Party members. Why me, and why jumping onto Israel/Palestine suddenly? Any idea?
I am sure you'll find a way out of this one as well.

skidmarx said...

Raphael - polite of you to respond, but even a quick read of reply provides a number of worrying items to consider. Though I would start by saying that unprovoked abuse is never a good thing, if that's happened in this case I'm sorry that it has occured.
I have not ever accused anyone of being a Nazi
Did anyone else on the thread, and has anyone associated with Green Engage done so? Still not necessarily your faulyt if the answer to either is yes, but still it would point towards the complaint being an attempt to isolate one side of an argument for condemnation.
and I do not do BNP=Nazi comparisons.
I do. Obviously the BNP's support for Israel might have Oswald Moslet turning in his grave, but there are a lot of points of comparison. Did you mean Nazi/anti-zionist comparisons, or do you think those are fine and dandy (I assume from the denial that you've ever called anyone a Nazi that this is a question to which the answer is no)?

Yet, I was the target of that threatening e-mail which used Israel=Nazi comparisons to attack some cunning Green Party members.
It looks mostly as if the target was the Israeli state and the IDF.I don't see that there is a threat made in the e-mail. If the Green Party members allegedly attacked were "cunning", is there something harassful or defamatory about saying so?
Why me
Was it? The article says it was targeted at you, yet the judgement says it was prompted by a comment form an AN Other (I guess that's probably not what it says on his/her birth certificate, as you might gueess that my screenname isn't on mine). Why does the Greens Engage article not reprint this comment,(or deny that it exists), choosing instead to only focus on the comment that you say is targeted at you?
and why jumping onto Israel/Palestine suddenly?
Because it might just be conceivably relevant when Greens Engage are engaged in a campaign to label members of the Green Party as anti-semitic if they refuse to accept the legitmacy of the Israeli seizure of the whole of Palestine from the Palestinians?
I am sure you'll find a way out of this one as well.

Thanks for the vote of confidence in my abilities, though I'd rather engage on honest debate about the rights and wrongs of any issue rather than spend time supposedly having to escape from verbal traps.
I started this thread by saying that I found Toby Greens belief that anti-zionism was automatically anti-semitic an obstacle to accepting the good faith of his subsequent assertions, because to assume racism in a political position which seems to have a more than reasonable basis in the conflict is try to settle with the prejudicial use of language what is clearly a matter for debate( to some extent this cuts both ways, it is legitimate to reject the proposition that Israel is a fundamentally racist state in its promotion of Jewish settlement to replace refugee Arabs, and so I'd try to avoid suggesting that all supporters of Israel are racists).
So my parting question is, do you think it is right to identify anti-zionism and anti-semitism?

echo said...

Given the number of Green Party activists who refer with all seriousness to the 'money-debt problem' or spout nonsense about 'economic growth' as if it meant a continual increase in production in primary and secondary industry (representing a complete failure to understand the categories of bourgeois political economy, let alone the force of Marx's critique of it), it's hardly surprising to find that it's not only the 'left' wing of the Green Party receptive to antisemitic thought. It might be interesting to look whether there's a correlation (and if so, what sort of a correlation) between Israel-related antisemitism and bizarre conspiracy-theories about finance capital.

davebrockly said...

seen enough on here
in summary at present the Green party believes that fighting anti-semetism might compromise its anti-Israel credentials.
That anyone thinks sending out BNP material in a email is good is disturbing.When challenged about this someone gets called a zionazi for objecting to the email including BNP material .

you certainly have problems in the green party .The jury is out if the Greens could be described as anti-semetic.

It might be best for anyone concern,d with bigotry to leave unless the matter is resolved soon.

As a concernd jew till the greens sort themselves out i couldn,t advise voting for them.

If the matter is not resolved soon the local synagogues should imform their members not to vote Green along with the BNP.The multi faith campaigns against the far right should also be informed .

If the Greens long term decide anti-zionism is more important than anti-semetism :Then Green councillors should be asked to not attend holocaust memorial services at the synagogue .
It is just wrong to abandon defending the welfare of British jews especially when there is a increase in anti-semetic incidents.

If the israel/palestine situation is to be sorted it won,t come about because the Green party has decided protecting jews in the UK is wrong.

i would suggest the conflict in palestine /israel would be sorted out quicker if both sides showed empathy for each other .

bob said...

Where did Toby or Greens Engage say that all anti-Zionism is always antisemitism? He does not even use the phrase "anti-Zionism". He does say, wrongly in my view, that Israel is the secular form of Judaism. That does not mean, however, that he thinks all criticism of Israel is illegitimate. Israel, however, IS a nation of Jews, and SOME criticism of Israel IS antisemitic.

Waterloo Sunset said...

The "Israel as secular form of Judaism" argument is very dodgy. I could see it appearing on Stormfront quite happily. Obviously, that doesn't mean not standing up against the antisemitic conspiracising that Toby outlines. But neither should we necessarily allow his experiences to get him off the hook when he's talking shit. It's quite possible to walk and chew gum at the same time, after all.

ModernityBlog said...

Bob,

Again Skidmarx is deliberately trying to confuse the issues.

It is a transparent tactic, to avoid having to address the substance of Toby Green's post.

PS: Just in case someone askes, I don't think that Anti-Zionism is antisemitism, either.

John Galliano said...

Bonjour Skidmarx. I'm having a little problem at the moment and could do with your help.

John G

skidmarx said...

John Galliano - whatever the truth of your problem, it doesn't seem to have much to do with anti-semitism, the subject of this post, more to do with whether you repeatedly called a woman a bitch and threatened to kill her "fucking Asian bastard" of a companion.

modernity - Again Skidmarx is deliberately trying to confuse the issues.
Again, modernity doesn't like the discussion that is being had, which has ended up being one about whether the charge made by Toby Green and Greens Engage that the anti-zionists in the Green Party are making anti-semitism there into a serious problem stands up to initial examination, as he would much rather have a discussion where he can bombard his opponents with loaded questions so that the thread can be about his brave exposure of any misstatement to reveal the alleged anti-semitism beneath.
What I've done is mostly to respond to what others have said. I still have no answer as to why supporters of Greens Engage can't tell us what else was said and who by on the discussion thread that led to the claims of defamation and harassment. There are other unanswered questions over that issue, as well as where the evidence is for anti-zionists being entryists in the Green Party (or indeed whether any of Greens Engage might be described as such). Good that you don't think anti-zionism is always anti-semitism, pity you don't object to the false accusations of anti-semitism, pith you think the question is being asked to distract when it is being asked to see if the respondant is engaging in the prejudicial dismissal of the anti-zionist position. More importantly, since the issue has come up, why doesn't anybody from Greens Engage tell us what happened on the rest of the thread and try to treat the posting they object to in isolation?

bob- saying that Israel is the secular form of Judaism would seem to automatically imply that attacks on Israel are attacks on all Jews, thus anti-zionism is anti-semitic per se. If Toby Green doesn't think so maybe he can make that clear.
SOME criticism of Israel IS antisemitic.
Some criticism of Jews is anti-semitic. What is the criterion presented for criticism of Israel being anti-semitic?

davebrockly - That anyone thinks sending out BNP material in a email is good is disturbing.
That everyone who has commented thinks it's a bad idea perhaps you should do some thinking before you type. The first allegation made against the Green Party was nonsense too,and once you get to "AsaJew", I'm reminded of one of Professor Norm's latest screeds, of cours it's only anti-zionist azzajews he doesn't like, so you'll probably be safe from his ire.

bob said...

There are other unanswered questions over that issue, as well as where the evidence is for anti-zionists being entryists in the Green Party (or indeed whether any of Greens Engage might be described as such).

The accusation of entrism originally came from the the JBIG individual(s) harassing Greens Engage people. Specifically, from someone who joined the Green Party pretty recently (see comments above), attacking much longer term members, with no indication as to what organisation or entity they are entering the Green Party from. The Zionist entity presumably. On the other hand, the anti-Zionist activism in the Green Party has been intensified by the recent joining by people like Ms Fink, who previously had no reputation as a green and was solely identified with anti-Zionist politics, who has indeed urged people to choose who to vote for on Israel issues and not on green issues. The intensified anti-Zionism in the Green Party may be associated with people in the GreenLeft group, who mostly come from Trot parties, or, as several commenters above suggest, may have nothing to do with that group.

John Galliano - whatever the truth of your problem, it doesn't seem to have much to do with anti-semitism, the subject of this post, more to do with whether you repeatedly called a woman a bitch and threatened to kill her "fucking Asian bastard" of a companion.

The lengths Skid goes to to deny the existence of antisemitism are staggering. While not wanting to minimise Galliano’s anti-Asian racism (evidence that different racisms are not some zero sum game, as Skid would have us believe, but often go together all too well), but he also made antisemitic comments on that occasion (an 'ugly, disgusting whore' with a 'dirty Jew face'), and the news today is of Galliano telling two young women he believed to be Jews: ‘Your parents should have been gassed’, and ‘I love Hitler’. Antisemitism is a real problem, Skid. In the Green Party, and elsewhere.

bob said...

Some criticism of Jews is anti-semitic. What is the criterion presented for criticism of Israel being anti-semitic?

A good question, which goes to the heart of the matter. The original GPRC report, if I remember correctly before it was suppressed, tried to tackle exactly that issue, quite carefully. I wish it were publically available, as it would be very helpful.

I also made some suggestions above, based on the EUMC working definition: The EUMC defintion gives examples "of how antisemitism manifests itself in regard to Israel “taking into account the overall context”. This qualification, the overall context, is crucial. As the CST note, something not antisemitic when addressed to an Israeli ambassador, a representative of the state of Israel, would become antisemitic when addressed to, say, a Rabbi, who would be a representative of Jews. Or, denial of Jewish right to self-determination in the context of the denial of all other nations’ right to self-determination would not be antisemitic, but denial of the Jewish right to self-determination while all other nations are accorded this right would be."

To put it briefly, criticism of Israel is antisemitic if it is about Israel as a Jewish state, it is not antisemitic if it treats Israel the way it treats other states.

Jim Denham said...

Skidders asks: "What is the criterion presented for criticism of Israel being anti-semitic?"

I'd say the answer is very simple: if someone denies mthe right of Isreal to exist, that's anti-semitism.

ModernityBlog said...

What is racism?

That's the broader question, this point was dealt with briefly when Toby Green asked:

"But what is lacking in this whole debate is an understanding of Jewish culture."

In short, when you treat ONE nation/ethnic group as uniquely deserving singular disparagement and when you heap criticism on them without parallel or reason.

That's a brief definition of racism and that's why the Green Party policy on antisemitism was so important.

The Contentious Centrist said...

"Or, denial of Jewish right to self-determination in the context of the denial of all other nations’ right to self-determination would not be antisemitic, but denial of the Jewish right to self-determination while all other nations are accorded this right would be."

This is insufficient, Bob. Because it provides a cover for all those who subscribe to the notion that all nationalisms are illegitimate, therefore Israel's nationalism, is, too. No problem there.

But there is a problem. Because those who find cover under this rule are not interested in dismantling all nationalism, do not concentrate all their attention on all nationalisms but choose this particular nationalism as their first mission.

Why? Why is Israel singled out first and foremost and exclusively, by these internationalists? What is it about Israel's nationalism that demands this urgent, focused and mobilized attention? What factor in Israel's historical record sticks out so that those anti-nationalists must train their fire power on this special nationalism to be dismantled? In what way is Israel's nationalism a low-hanging fruit for these internationalists?

I think the answer is quite obvious. And "Jewish" somehow figures in it. Therefore, it IS antisemitism.

ANY singling out of Israel in a disproportionate way that does not make sense or is not EQUALLY applied in energy and moral vim to ALL OTHER Nationalisms, qualifies for the antisemitic category of criticism.

It's a very simple rule of thumb.

skidmarx said...

bob - on entryism, your first comment on the thread seemed fairly definite on entryism, now you seem a bit more with the maybes. Is it possible that members of Greens Engage may be more concerned with the politics of Israel/Palestine than they are about the totality of Green politics?
On John Galliano, Christ Bob, if I can take a joke, can't you? Jeez, I'm assuming it wasn't the man himself, but one clever anti-anti-zionist [Am I allowed to say that, or have I fallen to peddling the anti-semitic trope of the clever Jew?] who inspired by the thought that the defence I have put up here for the non-identification of political anti-zionism with racism was in fact a bold and unashamed defence of anti-semitism, and so he ingeniously impersonated the fashion designer who'd apparently made some offensive remarks at some point recently. Not being a dedicated follower of fashion I searched on t'internet for some information for what he'd said and came up with:
1. There's some dispute about what he'd said.
2. The woman he'd abused wasn't Jewish, most of what he's claimed to have said had nothing to do with Jewishness.

So I went for the quick mock polite reply and failed to acknowledge that anti-semitism is a problem in my reply which should provide a full manifesto of my beliefs and not be a quick response of humourous banter. I would apologise, but that's just codswallop.Maybe there is anti-semitism in the Green Party, but I think trying to conflate it with anti-zionism would cloud and not clear the issue and there would seem to be some of that going on.

skidmarx said...

On anti-semitism - most of what you say about the EUMC definition is unclear (certainly not as clear as Deborah Fink's rejection of it earlier in the thread).Viz:
The EUMC defintion gives examples "of how antisemitism manifests itself in regard to Israel
What examples?
something not antisemitic when addressed to an Israeli ambassador, a representative of the state of Israel, would become antisemitic when addressed to, say, a Rabbi, who would be a representative of Jews.
What something? Without any context these phrases are meaningless.

Denial of the Jewish right to self-determination while all other nations are accorded this right would be.
Now this and your paraphrasing of it seem contentious and wrong. Israel isn't picked out for delegitimisation and a state because it is Jewish, but because of the seriousness of the dispossession of the Palestinians.Now you may wish, as modernity frequently does, to wish this away with "Look over there, there's China doing something similar to Tibet" as if that justifies what has happened in Palestine. Jim Denham and friends often come up with "what about the indiginous peoples of the Americas", when he's obviously not about to lead a campaign to evict the European settlers if we would all just shut up about the iniquities of Israeli occupation.But still trying to explain away opposition to a racially based state founded on the expulsion of a large proportion of its non-settler population as anti-semitic, and having this as part of your definition of racism is wrong in logic and wrong in fact.

Jim Denham - nice of you to be honest about it, I go over some of this ground above and have before, many people think Isarel is an essentially racist state and think it is wrong that it can encourage Jews to immigrate when Palestinians are denied the right to return to their homes. Some of those people might come from a racist position, but there are obvious reasons to support such a position from an anti-racist position, so again, to claim an identity between anti-semitism and anti-zionism is bad logic and sriously bad political theory.

Modernity - horseshit again. Toby Green asserts without evidence that a lack of understanding of Jewish culture explains a dispute that is partly between Jews of different political persuasions within the Green Party, and because you think he's right he must be right.Big Brother is always right, no wait, that can't be right.Be right with you...

skidmarx said...

Contentious Centrist - I think you point is dealt with in one of my previous two comments, should they both appear.

bob said...

I'm not sure I see the difference between the two rules of thumb Noga, because I completely agree with what you say. I agree that if Israel is singled out first and foremost and exclusively, by these internationalists, then that is antisemitic, but that is exactly what I was trying to get at in my formulation "denial of Jewish right to self-determination in the context of the denial of all other nations’ right to self-determination would not be antisemitic". If someone just said, "all nationalisms are wrong, but I am going to concentrate only on Jewish nationalism", that would pay lip service the letter of my rule, but clearly violate its spirit, and so clearly fail.

The AJC's Kenneth Stern, linked to by Deborah Fink's buddy Richard Kuper in the JNews post she mentions above http://www.tau.ac.il/Anti-Semitism/asw2003-4/porat.htm, who Kuper claims authored the EUMC definition, actually puts it quite well I think:

"There are two rare exceptions to contemporary anti-Zionism being antisemitism. This is because they do not discriminate against the Jew and deny him the right of self-determination. Some ultra-Orthodox Jews believe that Israel should not exist until the Messiah comes; and some people believe that there should be no nation-states, or that there should be no nation-states with links to a religion. These are not significant groups, and the latter ones (anarchists and those who oppose religion-linked states) become problematic if they inordinately harp on Israel rather than, say, Spain or Russia."

I would caveat this slightly, to add a third category, as represented by the Jewish Socialist Group here or possibly Jewish Currents in the US, who believe in that Jewish self-determination might not require a territorial nation but could be realised in a diaspora context. And I would add a further caveat that people involved primarily in intra-Jewish politics, such as the JSG, who don't harp on about Russia and Spain may have a good non-antisemitic reason to do so.

CST are also helpful in their recent incident report:
"Sometimes, the targeting of a particular incident can suggest an intention
to intimidate or offend Jews on the part of the perpetrator. For example,
graffiti reading “F**k Israel” would be classified as an antisemitic
incident when it is daubed in an area known for having a large Jewish
community, but not when it appears in another area where few Jews
live. Similarly, anti-Israel material that is sent unsolicited to synagogues
at random may be recorded as an antisemitic incident (because it fails
to distinguish between a place of worship and a political organisation),
when the same material sent unsolicited to specifically pro-Israel
organisations would not be. On the other hand, if a particular synagogue
has been involved in public pro-Israel advocacy, and subsequently
is sent anti-Israel material, it may not be classified as antisemitic
unless the content of the material dictates otherwise.
The political discourse used in an incident may also be the reason
why it is accepted or rejected as antisemitic. Incidents that equate
Israel to Nazi Germany would normally be recorded as antisemitic,
whereas those that compare Israel to, for instance, apartheid South
Africa normally would not be. While the charge that Israel practises
apartheid upsets many Jews, it does not contain the same visceral
capacity to offend Jews on the basis of their Jewishness as does
the comparison with Nazism, which carries particular meaning
for Jews because of the Holocaust."

http://www.thecst.org.uk/docs/Incidents%20Report%202010.pdf see my summary here https://contested-terrain.net/ziocentrism-and-antisemitic-incidents-in-britain/

bob said...

Skid's comment appeared while I was distracted by my day job while replying to CC, and I think I've answered one of the important questions ("What something? Without any context these phrases are meaningless") by quoting the CST report I was actually paraphrasing.

The other important question is easily answered by looking at the EUMC definition, but as this is central to the issue I'll paste it here:
*Denying the Jewish people their right to self-determination, e.g., by claiming that the existence of a State of Israel is a racist endeavor.
*Applying double standards by requiring of it a behavior not expected or demanded of any other democratic nation.
*Using the symbols and images associated with classic antisemitism (e.g., claims of Jews killing Jesus or blood libel) to characterize Israel or Israelis.
*Drawing comparisons of contemporary Israeli policy to that of the Nazis.
*Holding Jews collectively responsible for actions of the state of Israel.

I think the only one of these that is at all open to question is the first, which I find badly phrased, and think that CC's rule of thumb captures this far better.

bob said...

Now this and your paraphrasing of it seem contentious and wrong. Israel isn't picked out for delegitimisation and a state because it is Jewish, but because of the seriousness of the dispossession of the Palestinians.

This conflates two totally different things: criticism of Israel and delegitimation of Israel. The dispossession of the Palestinians is indeed a very serious issue, and should be condemned without reservations, and to so condemn it should not in itself ever be judged antisemitic. To step from condemning this dispossession to saying that therefore Israel has no legitimate right to exist is a very big step. This is why it relevant to point to other examples of radical dispossession (and there are plenty, alas, in the history of the 20th century), because in no other one of these examples to critics take the leap from the condemnation of the dispossession to the denial of the right to exist.

bob said...

On entrism, this is my first comment:
The anti-anti-Zionist activity in the Green Party (dubbed squealing Zionism by the anti-Zionists) was a direct response to the actions of entrists who came to the Green Party from groups like JfJfP, and has been carried out by people, like Toby, who previously were far more closely involved in local and ecological issues, and were often far better known for criticisms of Israel than for defending Israel.
I clarified it 24 hours later (having spent most of the intevening 24 hours working, commuting or sleeping):
On entrism. I would not claim that JfJfP made a formal decision to enter the Green Party, in the way Trotskyist parties make such decisions. But the Trotskyist background, the experience of how party politics works that GreenLeft late enterers bring to the party enables them to function quite effectively in a similar way.

I stand by the second comment. What is beyond doubt is that the most vocal of the JBIG accusers joined the GP very recently and has no track record of ecological activism and a huge track record of anti-Zionist activism, while the 5 main people involved in the Greens Engage blog have several years of Green Party membership between them and a track record of all sorts of ecological activism and very little track record of being agents of the Zionist entity. And yet it is the latter who are accused of entrism and asked to stand up in front of a tribunal that reminds me, as a sympathetic non-Green Party member who was a Labour Party member in 1980s, of the witch-hunts of Trots in the Old labour party! Indeed, Big Brother is always right.

That's me for tonight. I'll try and check the spam queue before I go to bed. Not sure why the spam queue likes Skid so much.

ModernityBlog said...

"There's some dispute about what he'd said."

Bob,

How long will you suffer this form of denial?

How long will we have to suffer this educated, self-righteous ignorance, instead of discussing the real issues?

There's a bloody video, even those in denial, like Skidmarx, surely can't deny that?

Or maybe Skidmarx would? As he's denied most other things:

1) the racism imbedded in Seven Jewish Children
2) the racism surrounding Gilad Atzmon
3) Alison Weir's nasty racism on supposed organs snatching
4) Counterpunch's continual slip into antisemitism and their push of Israel Shamir, the Far Rightist.

Bob, Skidmarx's default position is, that if there is any charge of antisemitism he’ll try to deny it, employing the numerous skills he learnt whilst at Oxbridge.

Can you really tolerate such blindness towards racism and the plethora of excuses that we’ve been given?

Noga said...

"If someone just said, "all nationalisms are wrong, but I am going to concentrate only on Jewish nationalism", that would pay lip service the letter of my rule, but clearly violate its spirit, and so clearly fail."

They do not say that but their de- facto insistence and focusing on Israel for me is sufficient proof of bad faith cover-my-butt argument.

Any singling out, in whatever shape or form, of Israel for criticism that is disproportionate is antisemitic.

Even when it is not based on objection to nationalism.

As we can see from skid's sanctimonious comment, that he is moved by "the seriousness of the dispossession of the Palestinians."

Why is he so moved by the "dispossession" of Palestinians but not, at least as equally, if not more so by the dispossession of, say, Darfurians, who actually have to endure real homelessness. What about the expelled Gypsies from France? Don't they deserve, at the very least, the same kind of attention given to poor Palestinians?

There are many places in this world where atrocities on scales unimaginable by skids, take place. But he is only moved to pester and persecute Israelis for "dispossessing" Palestinians. Funny how he doesn't mention the dispossessed Israelis who were taken from their homes in Gaza. Why wouldn't their plight find a warm corner of sympathy in his oh-so-generous heart?

echo said...

But still trying to explain away opposition to a racially based state founded on the expulsion of a large proportion of its non-settler population as anti-semitic, and having this as part of your definition of racism is wrong in logic and wrong in fact.

It's strange that when self-professed 'Marxists' start ranting about Israel they tend drop all allusion to anything resembling the Marxist critique of the state, and lapse into the worst sort of liberalism in their implicit idealization of pretty much every other state. So Israel's a racially based state, and its foundation involved the expulsion of the non-settler population? The same is true of the vast majority of nation-states on the planet.

So yes: opposition to Israel's existence on the basis that it is 'racially based' and 'founded on the expulsion of a large proportion of its non-settler population' - that is, on the basis that it is a bourgeois capitalist nation-state - is antisemitic.

weggis said...

Skid @ 28 February, 2011 17:04

"Is it possible that members of Greens Engage may be more concerned with the politics of Israel/Palestine than they are about the totality of Green politics?"

Of course it's possible, but it's just not true!

Sarah AB said...

A thought about context- I once went to a talk by two Israeli speakers who were offering some context for Operation Cast Lead. I asked a question about the blockade. I think a disctinction can be made between my question (because of the context) and the way in which the blockade (amongst other things) was invoked here.

http://greensengage.wordpress.com/2010/09/10/very-cunning-nazis-infiltrate-the-green-party/

I don't think I framed my question in a very combative way - but if I had it would still have been completely different in effect from the email I think.

skidmarx said...

Modernity - I understand that they seem to have called him a tramp, and asked for him to be removed, and that he had some more anti-semitic stuff to say, which appears to have been worse.
As for your claims that I am a serial denialist, the first three accusations are of varying degrees of contentiousness, the fourth, that I have defended Israel Shamir, is pure bullshit. Also to found on the same thread, a suggestion that Weir is not being racist and it is modernity who is twisting the meaning of words to make her out to be. Having only that one article to judge her by I don't think his argument stands up at all.

But again the question arises of modernity's hypocrisy. First he wants to discuss the Green Party, now he wants to distract the thread by attempting a hatchet job on me.
Skidmarx's default position is, that if there is any charge of antisemitism he’ll try to deny it,
That's a reversal of the truth: that your political methodology is to see anti-semitism everywhere, and then smear as racists those without the same vision.

Echo- It's strange that when self-professed 'Marxists' start ranting about Israel they tend drop all allusion to anything resembling the Marxist critique of the state
Like the suggestion up thread that zionism is never defined, this is bullshit> Try Maxime Rodinson on Israel as a colonial-settler state for starters.

As for [I paraphrase}" opposition to Israel because it is racist is anti-semitic because other nation states have expelled some of their population" is too feeble an argument to bother with.

weggis - actually Bob backs up that argument with some evidence. If your are a Greens Engage supporter, perhaps you can answer the question of what other comments were made on the discussion board that led up to Raphael's complaint, and why do Greens Engage members not seem keen to acknowledge what they were?

Sarah AB - I don't think I've seen you phrase any questions in a particularly combative way. Good thing generally.

bob said...

Galliano on video: "I love Hitler. People like you would be dead. Your mothers, your forefathers, would all be fucking gassed." Clearly audible. Irrelevant whether someone else may have called him a tramp. There is no excuse for this. There is no excuse for saying Hitler was right. There is no excuse for saying someone's mother should have been gassed by Hitler.

Noga said...

"As for [I paraphrase}" opposition to Israel because it is racist is anti-semitic because other nation states have expelled some of their population" is too feeble an argument to bother with."

Why "paraphrase"? Because without the "paraphrasing" you are left with very little justification to accuse Israel-first.

But even with your "paraphrasing", I'd like to know why you feel Israel needs to be the first focus of your outrage, when there are so many other cases of (real racisms and expulsions) in the world today and in history.

In what way do the Palestinians deserve your urgent assistance while others are left to languish far and away from the circle of your charity? What is it that makes them so special?

“Do you know why we Palestinians are famous? Because you are our enemy. The interest in us stems from the interest in the Jewish issue. The interest is in you, not in me. So we have the misfortune of having Israel as an enemy, because it enjoys unlimited support. And we have the good fortune of having Israel as our enemy, because the Jews are the center of attention. You’ve brought us defeat and renown.” (Mahmoud Darwish)

bob said...

Skid: "Is it possible that members of Greens Engage may be more concerned with the politics of Israel/Palestine than they are about the totality of Green politics?"

Weggis: "Of course it's possible, but it's just not true!"

Skid: "weggis - actually Bob backs up that argument with some evidence.

Weggis is, I believe, a long-standing green activist, as are all of the 5 named editors of the Greens Engage blog. That blog is hardly the main thing they do. It is far less prominent than JBIG or JfJfP. Their names are far less commonly seen on material relating to Is/Pal than Ms Fink's is. I don't recall providing any evidence to the contrary.

ModernityBlog said...

"Skid: "weggis - actually Bob backs up that argument with some evidence."

Bob,

Why bother? Skidmarx couldn't even be arsed to look up the video about Galliano?

Skidmarx is NOT interested in reason, argument or evidence.

Skidmarx is excuses after excuses when it comes to anti-Jewish racism.

Why bother? If you wouldn't waste your time arguing the toss with an ingrained racist from the BNP, then why make an effort with a highly educated Oxbridge ex-politico, whose modus operandi is to deny racism? That's Skidmarx.

I see that he is representative of that wider malaise amongst people who consider themselves on the Left, but it detracts completely from the issue of the Green party.

We should be focusing our discussion on how to get Greens to appreciate anti-Jewish racism, and not indulging Skidmarx the contrarian.

Bob, what is the point ? NO argument thus far has penetrated, there is no common ground, he's not an antiracist, why bother?

echo said...

As for [I paraphrase}" opposition to Israel because it is racist is anti-semitic because other nation states have expelled some of their population" is too feeble an argument to bother with.

Translation: I can't offer any sort of response to the point you make, so instead I'm going to 'paraphrase' it into something that's not quite the same and then pretend that I don't need to offer a response to it.

When in fact, you don't even have a response to the 'paraphrase'. Far from being 'too feeble to bother with', it raises, even in this weakened caricature that you present, a challenge to which you have no answer. Namely: why are you opposed to the existence of Israel on the basis that is a 'racist' state, while giving free passage to all other racist states (that is: all of them)?

Noga said...

More fodder for skids to chew:

"An absurd and obnoxious popular superstition has attributed the poverty, repression and chaos of the Middle East to Israel, or “Zionism” or “The Jews,” just as the Black Plague was blamed on “The Jews” in medieval Europe. This hoax was originally perpetrated by bad Middle Eastern governments and demagogues to distract the people from their own shortcomings. If there has been little development in Yemen, it can be blamed on the struggle with the Zionists. The poverty, the repression and poverty in Egypt, Syria, Libya, Tunisia and other countries were always blamed on the Zionists or on “Western Imperialism.”

This bizarre idea was adopted not only by Arab masses, but by serious political and academic institutions. The U.N. has a separate Secretariat branch concerned with the rights of the Palestinians, though no such branches exist for the much more unfortunate Kurds, the Bahai, or the Amazigh peoples (most people never even heard of the Amazigh). The U.N. General Assembly, Security Council and Human Rights Council have devoted most of their time and debates to “Palestine.” The media have devoted most of their coverage of the “Middle East” to Israel and Palestine. Arab Lobbyists sold the U.S. foreign policy establishment on the idea that all of the problems of the Middle East could be fixed by “settling the Israeli-Arab conflict,” or in other words, by annihilating Israel.

Rights groups have focused on imaginary human rights violations of Israel, and tried to whitewash the most heinous crimes of Arab countries like Libya."

http://www.zionism-israel.com/israel_news/2011/03/01/understanding-the-arab-revolts-where-is-the-middle-east/

skidmarx said...

There is no excuse for this. There is no excuse for saying Hitler was right. There is no excuse for saying someone's mother should have been gassed by Hitler.
I don't think I disagree with that at all.

Noga - Why "paraphrase"
So that I make the argument shorter and clearer, hopefully without distorting its meaning.
Because without the "paraphrasing" you are left with very little justification to accuse Israel-first.
Er,no, it's the same argument, just condensed into a score of words. Do you want to explain how my condensation differs from Echo's own words before you launch such an attack? The following sentence suggests that you can't make out a difference, and so should know that this is a stupid piece of abuse.
I'd like to know why you feel Israel needs to be the first focus of your outrage,
I don't. Do you have some knowledge of the working of my psyche that I'm unaware of. Unlike what appear to be the real "Ziocentrists" who spend all their time wondering how any political argument can be dragged back to Israel, I think about a lot of other things. This country(England), Brazil, Australia.
In what way do the Palestinians deserve your urgent assistance...?
I certainly don't think they deserve the oppression they have faced. Do you?
Do you know why we Palestinians are famous?
When I was growing up, there were never any Palestinians on the news, just the occasional "Arab terrorist". Israel up to that point seemed to have waged a succesful propaganda campaign to pretend that the Palestinians didn't exist. I'm glad things aren't quite as distorted as that in the media now.

bob2 - I think you may have misunderstood my point, which was to suggest that you had provided some evidence that supported weggis' assertion.

modernity - Skidmarx is NOT interested in reason, argument or evidence.
It's the way you tell them.
Skidmarx is excuses after excuses when it comes to anti-Jewish racism.
It's a lie.
whose modus operandi is to deny racism? That's Skidmarx.
It's another lie.From modernity whose m.o. is to demand he be allowed to set the agenda of any argument, and then drags the topic onto character assassination when he doesn't get his own way.
We should be focusing our discussion on how to get Greens to appreciate anti-Jewish racism, and not indulging Skidmarx the contrarian.
The anti-zionists should just sit there and take it while we abuse them as racists because they are anti-zionists.
Modernity - sacred of and argument and lying about me in the hope of provoking a reaction that might get me excluded, so that he can pretend there's no opposition to his lies and distortions. It's pathetic.

Echo - I couldn't be bothered, I see you couldn't point out how the weakened paraphrase differed from your argument either.
why are you opposed to the existence of Israel on the basis that is a 'racist' state,
Because it's a racist state.
while giving free passage to all other racist states (that is: all of them)?
I'm not. Show me a state that has such a degree of oppression, and I'll say it has as little legitimacy. Show me any capitalist state (all of them), and I'll say it needs replacing with one that is more politically and economically accountable to its people.
Simples, as the meerkats say. Now I've wasted more time on this argument than it is worth so...sun don't shine.

skidmarx said...

Noga2 - I idea that the US foreign policy establishment is in hock to anti-semitic conspiracy theorists is laughable. The idea that human rights violations against the Palestinians are imaginary is laughable.
The poverty and oppression in other Arab states is a lot more down to local dictatorship and Western imperialism than Zionism, but the oppression of the Palestinians is mostly down to the Israelis. As any fule kno.

Noga said...

"As any fule kno. "

Can anybody explain this? What's skids' point here?

ModernityBlog said...

I am just waiting for Skidmarx to say

"You know chaps, I think Julian Assange has a point"

Levi9909 said...

Bob - using a bogus definition of antisemitism that the EU itself has not ratified is not reasonable, it was at best naive and, of course, on your part, it is deliberately dishonest.

It is not antisemitic to compare Israel to the nazis, it is not antisemitic to render Israel's brand of segregation in Afrikaans, ie, apartheid, it is not antisemitic to point out that self-determination specifically for Jews in Palestine means denying self-determination to the non-Jewish inhabitants and it is not antisemitic to suggest that the establishment of a state specifically for the world's Jews is a racist endeavour. Further, it is not antisemitic to criticise the State of Israel without criticising the other 190 or so member states of the UN.

And yet all of those things are claimed to be antisemitic by the EUMC working definition. It was clearly aimed at silencing criticism of the State of Israel.

It is antisemitic to conflate Jews and the State of Israel and that is precisely what this Tony Green has done.

Zionists have a beef with the Green Party because it has supported anti-zionist activism. We now have the ludicrous spectacle of Green Party activists criticising the leadership for supporting activists who disrupted production of military equipment bound for the occupation forces in Palestine. I don't know of one zionist in ther Green Party who accepted that the disruption of the work of the factory in question was actually a lesser offence than Israel's "cast lead" assault on Gaza, do you?

Sarah AB said...

Levi - you distort that working definition as you gloss it. Your final point seems absurd - I accept that the student protestors did less damage (in their attacks on property) than the cuts - but that doesn't stop what they did being a criminal action.

Bob said...

Sarah - Levi (Mark Elf) is referring to the Smash Edo demonstrators, who Caroline Lucas defended. I'm not sure of the details.

More to follow on EUMC

skidmarx said...

you distort that working definition as you gloss it.
In what we does he do that?I accept that the student protestors did less damage (in their attacks on property) than the cuts But he's talking about Cast Lead, unless you're saying the IDF are a bunch of cuts.
but that doesn't stop what they did being a criminal action.
I'm not a lawyer, but I think you may be wrong on the legal definition of crime as well as on political principle.

Noga - it's a Molesworth reference. I think it's bleedin' obvious that the greatest source of oppression of Palestinians in the last sixty years has been the Israelis.

skidmarx said...

Modernity - still not waiting to put put words in the mouth of others.

Bob said...

[Comment in 2 parts]

I agree that the EUMC working definition is imperfect. But I have not seen a better working definition, and don’t think it is naive to use it as a starting point. Nor is it dishonest of me to use it, as I am only “using” it to explain what it is and not to promote it as my definition.

It is also true that the EU have never formally ratified it. But it is not a treaty or legal instrument. It is a practical tool to use in identifying and monitoring antisemitism. It was developed jointly with OCSE, which uses it in collecting data on antisemitism. I think it has been signed off by the FRA’s management board, which includes representatives from all the member states of the EU. I think in general the EU should not be seen as a tool of the Zionist entity; it has better relations with the PA than with Israel and also funded the series The Promise, so I don’t think it can be seen as a front for “US Zionists”.

The EUMC definition uses the term “could” in setting out its list of examples, specifying that these would depend on context. In other words, the EUMC definition does not say that all the things you, Mark, suggest are always and everywhere antisemitic.

Bob said...

[part 2]

Mark: it is not antisemitic to suggest that the establishment of a state specifically for the world's Jews is a racist endeavour.
EUMC:*Denying the Jewish people their right to self-determination, e.g., by claiming that the existence of a State of Israel is a racist endeavour [could be antisemitic depending on context]
Bob: Here Mark’s paraphrase is deceptive. The EUMC definition talks of calling THE EXISTENCE of Israel, and not its specifically or exclusively Jewish character, a racist endeavour. I agree that an Israel with an exclusively Jewish character would be a racist endeavour, and note that there is a drift within Israeli politics to make Israel an exclusively Jewish state which is a racist drift. I think it is not necessarily antisemitic to say that a state “specifically for” Jews is racist, although I think it would be wrong to do so. It WOULD, however, be antisemitic to say that a state “specifically for” Jews is racist if you denied that other nation-states “specifically for” their putative nationals (e.g. a Palestinian state, a German state, a Slovakian state) are also racist.

Mark: it is not antisemitic to criticise the State of Israel without criticising the other 190 or so member states of the UN.
EUMC: *Applying double standards by requiring of it a behavior not expected or demanded of any other democratic nation [could be antisemitic depending on context]
Bob: Again Mark’s paraphrase is deceptive. It is fine to criticise Israel without criticising the other state, but not fine to say that Israel is uniquely guilty of crimes that several of the other states also happen to be guilty of.

EUMC: *Using the symbols and images associated with classic antisemitism (e.g., claims of Jews killing Jesus or blood libel) to characterize Israel or Israelis [could be antisemitic depending on context]
Mark: does not mention this, so hopefully agrees. This is what CounterPunch are accused of doing, as mentioned in comments above.

Mark: It is not antisemitic to compare Israel to the nazis
EUMC: *Drawing comparisons of contemporary Israeli policy to that of the Nazis [could be antisemitic depending on context]
Bob: This is probably my biggest disagreement with Mark here, as I find it hard to imagine legitimate comparisons between Israel and the Nazis, given the utter disproportionate absurdity of such comparisons. There may be contexts where the comparison could be not-antisemitic, but I can’t think of one for now.

EUMC: *Holding Jews collectively responsible for actions of the state of Israel.
Mark: does not mention this, so hopefully agrees.

Mark: it is not antisemitic to render Israel's brand of segregation in Afrikaans, ie, apartheid
EUMC: does not mention this.
Bob: I sort of agree with Mark here. I think it is wrong to describe Israel as an apartheid state, but not antisemitic to do so. It is part of a deliberate delegitimation strategy (although not only used by people consciously deploying that strategy), but that doesn’t make it antisemitic. Again, however, because this is not in the EUMC definition, there is nothing to argue about.

Mark: it is not antisemitic to point out that self-determination specifically for Jews in Palestine means denying self-determination to the non-Jewish inhabitants
EUMC: does not mention this.
Bob: I agree that making such an argument would not be in itself antisemitic, but as it is not judged antisemitic by the EUMC definition, there is nothing to argue about.

ModernityBlog said...

Bob,

You might have missed Elf's comment elsewhere:

"Levi9909 said...
Oh dear Jim. What has happened here is that some zionist members of the Green Party are trying to accuse Caroline Lucas et al of antisemitism because of their criticisms of the State of Israel and more recently their support for the defendants in a trial over the disruption of production of military equipment bound for Israel during its attack on Gaza ("cast lead" not the on-going daily stuff). Some imbeciles on this GPRC thought that it would be a good idea to use a proposed "working definition of antisemitism" produced by an American zionist and proposed by the EU Monitoring Centre on Xenophobia and Racism, now known less wordily as the Fundamental Rights Agency. The "working definition" appears now to have been quietly dropped possibly because it was obviously aimed at silencing criticism of the State of Israel or possibly because it could not stand up to criticism and so whilst it has been quietly dropped it doesn't stop lying zionists from referring to it as a done deal. And some, including Mod Blog's friends at Engage are seeking to have it incorporated into the laws of EU member states.

The GPRC were told to stop being so stupid and that could have been that. But the because the zionists kept claiming there was a problem with antisemitism in the Greens, the Greens formed a working party which they subsequently disbanded because there was nothing to the allegations. Zionists then went to Hugh Muir of the Guardian who accused the Greens of behaving like a mainstream party over the issue. Ludicrous of course. If they behaved like a mainstream party they would silence criticism of Israel.

Richard Kuper of Jews for Justice for Palestinians has a critique of the bogus definition here. What is interesting is that it is very hard (possibly impossible) to find the working definition in full on any official EU site.

BTW, I'm glad you recognised that Moddy is talking his usual load of pro-zionist bollocks.

Wednesday, March 02, 2011 8:04:00 AM "


http://jimjay.blogspot.com/2011/02/misc-time.html

skidmarx said...

The Richard Kuper link is to here.

bob said...

Comment I just left at Jim's place:

"Some imbeciles on this GPRC": that's not a very respectful way of describing veteran Green Party activists!

 "produced by an American zionist": see my comment here.

"The "working definition" appears now to have been quietly dropped": actually it continues to be used by the FRA and the OSCE in monitoring antisemitic incidents and has been adopted by the NUS and several student unions in the UK.

"very hard (possibly impossible) to find the working definition in full on any official EU site": well, unless you include the EU's Fundamental Rights Agency, where it is easily available.

Waterloo Sunset said...

I don't think there's anything wrong with rejecting the EUMC definition of antisemitism. It's a working definition after all and it's by no means immune to criticism or even disagreement. Would anybody actually criticise Darren Johnson for voting against its inclusion.

What the real issue for me here is, is the fact that some Greens seem to have rejected it, while refusing to put a different definition in place. Not only is that awfully nihilistic, I do strongly question the motivations of anybody who categorically refuses to have a policy on antisemitism per se. The 'explanation' that it's because people are against singling out a particular form of racism is unconvincing. I can't honestly see any opposition in the Greens to a policy on anti Romani racism on these grounds. So you have to ask why some people are so against being told they can't be antisemitic, specifically.

On the question of disproportionate attention paid to Israel/Palestine, there's two other factors I think put a different spin on it. The first is people who actually live in the area, for obvious think globally/act locally issues. The other, possibly, more controversial, is the question of context in the blogosphere specifically. If a blog is putting an undue emphasis on Israel/Palestine (like Harry's Place does), it's likely to affect discussions on that blog, as they have 'nailed their colours to the mast'. It doesn't mean that it's always valid to discuss- it's still utterly irrelevant to discussions of antisemitic attacks. Simply that a blog with that emphasis has made it clear that it's a specific topic of interest on that blog.

To a lesser extent, the same applies to bloggers. If pro-Israel (which I'm using as shorthand for the Israeli state apparatus) bloggers are making a wildly disproportionate number of their posts/comments elsewhere about the Israel/Palestine situation, they don't then get to complain when the 'other side' of the argument does the same. They can certainly argue that Israel is treated unfairly in reporting of its policies, but to complain that people are overly focused on Israel/Palestine is hypocritical. They have chosen, through their actions, to feed into the narrative that we should talk about Israel/Palestine all the fucking time to the exclusion of other issues.

On Galliano, I am currently remembering why I heart Charles Shaar Murray- http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2011/mar/02/galliano-racism-cabaret-camp

skidmarx said...

Maybe as with Calvin Coolidge and Sin they don't feel that much definition is necessary. Is there anything to the zionist /pro-Israeli state apparatus side of the argument about needing to flesh out the definition which isn't simply about trying to delegitimise opposition to Israel because I haven't seen it yet.
bob - the EU should not be seen as a tool of the Zionist entity; it has better relations with the PA than with Israel
I think this is heavily glossing over the reality of military intelligence and trade co-operation between the EU and Israel, with a minimal nod in the direction of the Palestinians. Isn't it the EU who've been paying civil servants in Gaza to sit at home ever since Hamas won the Palestinian elections? Propping up the PA is no substitute for actually supporting the Palestinians.

ModernityBlog said...

Bob,

Can't you see Skidmarx's problem here?

Skidmarx is unable to mentally untangle Israel from anti-Jewish racism. The two are intimately linked in his mind.

He can't 'oppose' one without giving ground on the others, it is that wonderful simplistic SWP way of thinking.

Skidmarx and others can't acknowledge one without seemingly thinking that they are 'capitulating' on the other.

Maybe you should have a quick test for such "anti-Zionists"

Simple quiz on antisemitism:

1. "The Jews are responsible for all the wars in the world." antisemitic or not? Y/N

2. "People like you would be dead. Your mothers, your forefathers, would all be fucking gassed. I love Hitler." antisemitic or not? Y/N

3. "Jewish journalists are ganging up on me" antisemitic or not? Y/N

4. "Throughout the centuries, Jewish bankers bought for themselves some real reputations of backers and financers of wars and even one communist revolution.” antisemitic or not? Y/N

5. "Jewish supremacy ceased to be a paranoid’s nightmare, and became a fact bound in law, " antisemitic or not? Y/N

6. "However, one should consider the fact that organized Jewry all over the world devotedly supports the supremacist state of Israel. Secondly, there is ample evidence that policies of Jewish Supremacy extend far beyond the boundaries of Israel. Powerful Jews in media and government around the world frequently act to exert control over the peoples among whom they live. " antisemitic or not? Y/N


7. ‘Such is the Zionist influence in Britain particularly in the media (‘Lord’ Lew Grade, ‘Lord’ Bernstein) that this film (Death of a Princess) was bound to be shown and used to stir up anti-Arab feeling’ antisemitic or not? Y/N


So "anti-Zionists" please take this little quiz and tell us what you disagree or agree with, and why.

I will give out the answers later on, no peeking!

Levi9909 said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Levi9909 said...

woops, I didn't tick the email box. Sorry.

bob said...

I am re-posting Mark Elf''s comment here, with the gratuitous sweary abuse edited out. I prefer to delete as few comments as possible, but I will get harder if the tone goes lower. Please folks be civil. Please note on this occassion I have left the accusations that I and others are lying, and only removed the obscenities directed at us. Consider your wording carefully from now on please.

Levi9909 said...
Bob - You have come here to report on another thread in the hope that you can move some trolls to filibuster the discussion there like they are doing here. Having failed at that you are indulging in the catharsis of falsely accusing me of deception and having the equally ludicrous Moddy agree with you.

If I am being deceptive please return to this thread and make your case where I am making mine.

I just noticed Moddy claiming that he doesn't think that anti-zionism is antisemitism. But he says on the Daily (maybe) thread that there are so many definitions of zionism it amounts almost to a word with no meaning. So, logically, according to Moddy, anti-zionism can't mean anything either. So his disclaimer is meaningless and, typically, dishonest.

I defined zionism as
the idea that there should be a state for Jews and that Jews should have more right to that state than the native non-Jewish population. I based that on the structure and policies of the State of Israel and the World Zionist Organisation. Moddy saw fit to ridicule that because Israel Shamir, Gilad Atzmon and (he says) the SWP would all define it differently. He's wrong about the SWP, I'm sure.

Anyway Bob, you have shown yourself capable of lying on any blog, mine, Jim Jepps's, yours, so please either come over to the other blog where the trolls haven't quite taken over or desist from this flagrant dishonesty. You know I have a short concentration span.

Moddy also seems to have decided that hassling a Green blogger over antisemitism isn't so important after all but you could finish what you started Bob and at least look like you are trying to substantiate your bogus allegations.

Skidmarx - you were wise to them from the off. Good stuff. Bob and Moddy will be misrepresenting your words from here on in on any blog they comment on for the rest of time. They fucked up badly on The Daily (Maybe). Hence their exercising of their right to return to the safer ground of Brockley. And now I see Moddy filibustering over Bob's insanely dishonest assertion about EU/Israel/PA relations. Antisemitism quiz? ffs!

[...]


Speaking of which, Toby has managed a comment on the Daily (maybe) thread and not returned there but he hasn't returned here to defend his nonsense either. He has left it to another bunch of lying Israel advocates. Not much integrity going on in the self-styled anti-antisemitism brigade.


04 March, 2011 09:39

Gordon said...

Mark, are you actually interested in academic arguments about nationality? The arbitrariness of geographically-defined nationalism as opposed to ethnically-defined (post-diasporic) nationalism or do you prefer calling anyone who disagrees with you lying Israel advocates (ad hominem attacks don't tend to be signs of strong arguments).

Why was my father afforded right-of-return to Britain for having a British grandfather? Who's complaining about that?

ModernityBlog said...

You only need to look at Jim's to see Mark Elf's modus operandi.

He makes inflammatory statements, he deliberately misrepresents the EUMC and its meaning

Then when it is quoted back to him to show how stupid his comment was, he says nothing, but carries on regardless.

And again my comments are misrepresented.

Elf says: " just noticed Moddy claiming that he doesn't think that anti-zionism is antisemitism. But he says on the Daily (maybe) thread that there are so many definitions of zionism it amounts almost to a word with no meaning. So, logically, according to Moddy, anti-zionism can't mean anything either. So his disclaimer is meaningless and, typically, dishonest."

Elf misreads, and then draws the wrong conclusion.

I didn't say the word Zionism was meaningless, just that it meant different things to different people, which is entirely different.

Had I wanted to say something like that I would have said it, directly.

Again, it means different things to different people.

I am told that I am rather direct so in that vein:

I think it is a waste of time arguing with Elf, because if you write anything contrary to his prejudices then he will somehow manage to misread it, misunderstand it, mangle it, twist it, and beat it completely out of meaning.

Elf can't read, he can't argue and he doesn't know anything about the EUMC, as is ably demonstrated from his comment at Jim's:

bob said...
Levi: "Trying to slip the bogus EUMCXR/FRA "working definition of antisemitism" into the Greens rule book at any level would be an utter disgrace. The working definition is clearly aimed at silencing criticism of Israel...

If you criticised Israel yourself, (I didn't read your article) then according to the working definition, you are antisemitic"

EUMC Working definition: " criticism of Israel similar to that levelled at any other country cannot be regarded as antisemitic"

Thursday, March 03, 2011 4:19:00 PM "


http://jimjay.blogspot.com/2011/02/misc-time.html?showComment=1299110194603#c8657246502883078696

bob said...

Levi/Mark, you arrived at Jim's thread on Wednesday, March 02, 2011 8:04:00 AM, a month after he posted his post, when the debate there had died down. You were presumably alerted to it by the debates which followed from Toby's post here, the date of which, 23 Feb, is clearly visible, so I am not sure what point you are making. Especially given that your comrade Deborah's first post there just arrived this morning and is copied from her comment here.

I'm not bothering to reply to the lying allegations, which are so far-fetched that they are not worth bothering with.

Levi9909 said...

Gordon - your father has a connection to the UK via his grandfather coming from here. Palestinians whose grandparents come from Israel are mostly banned from there. Who, with parents or grandparents from the UK, is banned from here? You see the difference? You are asserting opposites as similarities. If you are the Green Gordon who was posting on The Daily (maybe) then you said that you don't know of anyone defending Israel's actions and yet you seem to be defending Israel's ethnic cleansing by pretending that the UK is structured in a similar way. Perhaps you are not the same person.

Bob - if you want to discuss an issue honestly - and I am not suggesting that you do - then you could continue in one place rather than duck and dive in two places especially given your editorial control here. If you are suggesting that there is something questionable about Jim Jepps's moderation then go there and say so.

bob said...

Mark/Levi, what on earth have I said that suggests I have a problem with Jim's moderation? We were having a discussion here for quite a while before you joined in over there, so don't think there is anything wrong with keeping this discussion going here just because you happened to jump in over there.

And of course Jim and I have an overlap in readers, so it is not odd that more than one of us are in both discussions. (I added him to my blogroll in his second or third week of blogging in 2006, having seen things by him at the old Socialist Unity Network site, and I got the opportunity to vote for him in the ward council elections in May.)

ModernityBlog said...

Yeah Bob,

Why don't we all do whatever Mark Elf tells us to do, lest he throws a fit, you know he can't read, let alone manage to switch between two web sites, shades of Gerald Ford? :)

Elf's authoritarianism is tedious. !

If Elf can't manage to use a browser then maybe he should butt out and leave these serious discussions to those who can.

skidmarx said...

Levi9909 - Yes moddy can be a pain, though his way of doing things seems to grow more transparent and stupid as time goes on. I haven't had any major problems with bob as yet, though I do wonder why he feels the need not to use your screenname, in a manner reminiscent of the way Andy Newman used to "accidentally" reveal the names of people he didn't like.
I note that none of the Greens Engage people have said what if anything was said before the comment they took exception to for its alleged defamation and harassment.

modernity - Skidmarx is unable to mentally untangle Israel from anti-Jewish racism.
What a world you live in. You spend your life trying to identify anti-Israeli politics with anti-semitism, and I'm the one that can't untangle them? I'm almost lost for words.

bob said...

I respect the anonymity of bloggers who prefer to remain anonymous. However, Mark makes no secret of his identity and is quite public under his own name, and he has played a part in the story under discussion here in his own right, so I thought it helpful to use his read name. If he would prefer me not to use his name, I won't do so any more.

Gordon said...

@Levi9909

I am the same person...

I explained my position on the arbitrariness of immigration law (whether down to linked-geography or linked ethnicity) with reference to Israel's immigration policy on the blog that you think is less censored.

However, many different activities are being conflated.

I think I'm allowed to opt out of the 'dialogue' when I'm accused of supporting ethnic cleansing.

ModernityBlog said...

Sorry, but I don't think that Mark Elf should be allowed to poison discussions on this topic and drive others off.

I am interested in what Greens say about this issue, not Elf's abusive behaviour.

bob said...

Sorry Gordon that you feel driven away. I will start moderating more harshly on this thread from now on. I am keen for debate among Green party members to carry on here. I apperciate your contribution, and agree with you on the nationality issue.

Levi9909 said...

gordon - sorry if I hurt your feelings. you seemed to be suggesting that the UK's Britishness is the same as the State of Israel's Jewishness but the latter is owed to ethnic cleansing. You don't support that. ok fine. but i'd say you're in a bit of a cleft stick trying to equate the UK's and Israel's citizenship situations.

skidmarx - nothing sinister about Bob using my real name.

bob - keep your hair on.

Levi9909 said...

I didn't notice Bob going into such detail with the working definition. This might have to be in two parts since I am being accused of "glossing":

These are the provisions I believe are deliberately seeking to prevent any criticism of the State of Israel and its zionist ideology:

1.Denying the Jewish people their right to self-determination; eg by claiming the existence of the State of Israel is a racist endeavour.

Jews are not entitled to self-determination. Self-determination is for people who enjoy territorial contiguity but usually applied to a commanding majority. In order to attain and maintain either of these things, contiguity or commanding majority, an ethnic cleansing campaign is/was required. Of course that is precisely what the zionists did and their racist manipulation of laws and the economy together with bouts of extreme violence have meant that the ethnic cleansing is on going. The provision is a clear statement that anti-zionism is antisemitism. The provision is presumptuous in that it presumes a right of self-determination for Jews.

2.Applying double standards by requiring of it a behavior not expected or demanded of any other democratic nation.

This presupposes that Israel is indeed democratic. It even seems to be saying, by way of the word "nation" that it is the Israeli people who are democratic. Where does this leave Israeli Arabs and Palestinians who have specific grievances with Israel that cannot be addressed through the state's institutions? And how do people abroad show solidarity in these cases? Do they have to criticise other countries to make their case without falling foul of the working definition.

Levi9909 said...

3. Using the symbols and images associated with classic antisemitism (eg claims of killing Jesus or blood libel) to characterise Israel or Israelis.

This could amount to antisemitism (eg killing Jesus) but both Anthony Julius and Jonathan Freedland have both claimed that protesting Israel's killing of disproportionate numbers of children amounts or at least compares to blood libel. It doesn't.

4. Drawing comparisons of contemporary Israeli policy to that of the Nazis.

That is only antisemitic if you identify all Jews with Israel which is itself antisemitic. Many of Israel's actions bear comparison to the nazis and even where the comparison is wrong that doesn't make it antisemitic. I accept that there are people who say that some Israel detractors only use that comparison to offend Jews but historically it has been Jews who make the comparison. Also, when an Israeli commander tells his troops to emulate the destruction of the Warsaw Ghetto and an Israeli minister calls for a "shoah" against Gaza, what can outsiders say?

5. Holding Jews collectively responsible for the actions of the state of Israel.

bob said...

(Sneaking comments in while looking after kids, so may take me a while.)

Jews are not entitled to self-determination. Self-determination is for people who enjoy territorial contiguity but usually applied to a commanding majority. In order to attain and maintain either of these things, contiguity or commanding majority, an ethnic cleansing campaign is/was required. Of course that is precisely what the zionists did and their racist manipulation of laws and the economy together with bouts of extreme violence have meant that the ethnic cleansing is on going. The provision is a clear statement that anti-zionism is antisemitism. The provision is presumptuous in that it presumes a right of self-determination for Jews.

While I don't radically disagree with your other points (hopefully see my later comment/s), I find this absolutely outrageous. As I've said before, I find the whole idea of national self-determination highly problematic, especially if linked to territory. But to say that some peoples have the right and not others is much more problematic, and to say that all peoples have that right except for the Jews is een more so and indeed antisemitic.

The definition of a nation that includes territory is the definition that Stalin came up with, and resulted in such tagedy in the Soviet empire. essentially, it means that once a people is dispossessed or exiled it can never be allowed the right to self-determination. By this definition, if the Zionist state were ever able to expell all Arabs from Palestine they would then lose their right to self-determination.

Levi9909 said...

5. Holding Jews collectively responsible for the actions of the state of Israel. (again)

Of course that is antisemitic but that is precisely what the definition itself does in parts.

6. However criticism of Israel similar to that leveled against any cannot be regarded as antisemitic.

This is similar to point 2 and makes it antisemitic to argue as I have done here that Israel stands out because it's colonial settlement, ethnic cleansing and segregationism are current, on-going, systematic (by which I mean essential to its self-definition as a state for Jews) and I might add treated like an appendage of the west by western states with all of the protections, including from criticism, that that entails.

I noticed Bob claiming that the context thing makes all the difference. If the context thing makes all the difference then in an article on Cif where someone argues that it is antisemitic to compare Israel to the nazis, I can say, according to Bob, that it is not antisemitic because Israel does have some similarities with the nazis, like cherry picking the ethno-religious descent of its population, destruction of villages as retaliation, etc eg. Well I have done this and I was deleted for "hate speech". Also, even if the criticism is wrong that doesn't make it antisemitic. According to Bob (as far as I can understand) it would not have been hate speech if I said it to an Israeli ambassador but it would have been if I said it to a rabbi. But if I abided by all the working definition rules and targeted people who are visibly Jewish for my criticisms of Israel that would be antisemitic unless they were rabbis and I was trying to get them to make an announcement in shul because I am worried that many Jews are riding a tiger in their support for Israel.

As Darren said, the working definition is problematic in that it appears to be aimed at closing down legitimate criticism of the State of Israel. I don't think Bob has made a very good case for it. It is not the only working definition there is. Antisemitism is racism against Jews. That is a perfectly adequate definition to work with. By that definition the EUMC WD is antisemitic by implying that all Jews are somehow connected to Israel and that Israel only concerns Jews.

bob said...

[EUMC:] Applying double standards by requiring of it a behavior not expected or demanded of any other democratic nation.

Levi: This presupposes that Israel is indeed democratic. It even seems to be saying, by way of the word "nation" that it is the Israeli people who are democratic. Where does this leave Israeli Arabs and Palestinians who have specific grievances with Israel that cannot be addressed through the state's institutions? And how do people abroad show solidarity in these cases? Do they have to criticise other countries to make their case without falling foul of the working definition.


It is probably a weakness of the EUMC definition that it uses the phrase "democratic nation". I would formulate it like this: "Applying double standards by requiring of [Israel] a behavior not expected or demanded of any other nation or state." No democracy is perfect and, and in any country there are people who have specific grievances that cannot be addressed through the state's institutions. And of course it is perfectly legimate (or at least obviously not antisemitic) to believe in the revolutionary overthrow of the liberal democratic state.

But that does not make any difference to the fundamental point that judging Israel by a different standard than the standard by which other nations or states are judged is a form of exceptionalism which is ultimately racist, and I cannot see any legitimate objection to that point beyond an objection to specific ways of formulating it.

bob said...

EUMC: 3. Using the symbols and images associated with classic antisemitism (eg claims of killing Jesus or blood libel) to characterise Israel or Israelis.

levi: This could amount to antisemitism (eg killing Jesus) but both Anthony Julius and Jonathan Freedland have both claimed that protesting Israel's killing of disproportionate numbers of children amounts or at least compares to blood libel. It doesn't.


As the EUMC definition says, this COULD be antisemitic, depending on the overall context. You can argue over whether a specific allegation amounts to the use of the blood libel, but you cannot of course say that the blood libel is itself acceptable.

Levi9909 said...

Saying "all peoples" are entitled to self-determination needs clarification. On what basis are "all peoples" entitled to self-determination? What does "all peoples" even mean? The question of who is a people entitled to self-determination is always controversial. Should the people of Ireland as a whole have self-determination or should the Protestants of Ireland or its northeastern corner have it and deny it to the people as a whole? Why are Canadians Canadian and not American? I know you accept that the issue is always problematic but you then contradict yourself by expressing "outrage" at the questioning of the right of Jews to self-determination. I don't think Jehovah's Witnesses, Romanies or Sikhs should have it either though I think they should be consulted by the states or local authorities where they live on policies that affect them.

My understanding of self-determination is that it should apply to the people of a country which is certainly how the UN appears to define it. It means that the people of a country have the right to decide whether they should have a state for just that country or to be part of a state including another country or countries.

At what point did Jews in Palestine (though Israel purports to be a state for Jews worldwide) become eligible for self-determination or statehood?

When the World Zionist Organisation was founded in the 1890s they couldn't decide where to effect Jewish self-determination in Argentina, Uganda or Palestine. Would any of those have been equally legitimate? Or what the first two be outrageous?

When the WZO decided on Palestine in 1904/5 to 1917 when the UK decidedto support zionism the Jewish population was still less than 10% and when Lord Balfour said in 1919 that all the world's major powers were supporting zionism, they were still not much more than 10%.

When the UN recommended partition in breach of its own charter and in defiance of the representatives of 2/3s of the population of Palestine who had been in situ since time immemorial, Jews were about a third of the population of Palestine and about a half of the area recommended as a Jewish state which was the area containing all of the main hubs of the economy of Palestine. And of the Jewish popualtion, if you do the math, many had only recently arrived - I know, often in enormously tragic circumstances. Not that the WZO treated the holocaust like a tragedy, more as an excuse.(but that's another story).

Now, through ethnic cleansing and colonial settlement Jews are arguably about 70% of the population - arguably because Israel relaxes the "who is a Jew" rule for overcoming the "demographic threat". People recognised as Jews for daily life purposes are probably about 60& within the 67 boundary and now probably less then 50% in Palestine as a whole.

Now at what point do either the world's Jews or the Jews of Palestine become eligible for self-determination. Or is it being suggested that Jews are entitled to self-determination wherever a large number can converge and impose their will?

But remember the context for this is that the Working Definition says that it is antisemitic to deny the Jewish people their right to self-determination. I think Jewish self-determination is a breach of the principle of national self-determination. You think to deny Jews self-determination is "outrageous". But is it antisemitic? Or is this yet another case for the CST to decide the context of?

bob said...

EUMC: 4. Drawing comparisons of contemporary Israeli policy to that of the Nazis.

L:That is only antisemitic if you identify all Jews with Israel which is itself antisemitic. Many of Israel's actions bear comparison to the nazis and even where the comparison is wrong that doesn't make it antisemitic. I accept that there are people who say that some Israel detractors only use that comparison to offend Jews but historically it has been Jews who make the comparison. Also, when an Israeli commander tells his troops to emulate the destruction of the Warsaw Ghetto and an Israeli minister calls for a "shoah" against Gaza, what can outsiders say?


You cite two instances of outrageous statements from within Israel that were widely condemned in the israeli public sphere and the diaspora media. In fact, I don't recall anyone defending those statements. for every two such instances, however, there are hundreds of grossly offensive nazi comparisons from Israel's critics.

Again, there are problems with the EUMC wording. What is "drawing a comparison" exactly? The EUMC definition, though, notes that context will determine whether it is antisemitic. I think there are few, if any, contexts were it would not be accpetable to say that the Israelis are visiting a Holocaust on Gaza, for example. The word "Zionazi" is also grossly offensive. However, it would be absurd for a working definition to enumerate all such possible examples. Instead, quite sensibly, the definition sets up a general rule, which it says is context dependaant, as guidance for identifying possible instances. The "Nazi" debate on the Green e-mail list, as well as the Holocaust denialism, examples cited above, would then, at the very least, raise alarm bells uf the working definition was used.

Levi9909 said...

I missed your comment about double standards.

I believe that the reason that Israel comes in for so much flak is precisely because, whilst it is treated as a western democracy, it is not governed according to the broad principles of democracy, liberty and the rule of law. Israel's judges have even banned parties for arguing for racial, religious and ethnic equality on the grounds that such parties, if they were successful, would undermine the "Jewish character" of the state. It's that self-determination thing again.

There are rarely double standards involved in condemning Israel as the colonial settler state that it is. We don't need to say that Israel is as bad as America used to be, for example. We can simply condemn the ethnic cleansing of the past, the present, and, so long as so few speak out, presumably the future too.

There is no other state founded more for people that don't come from there than for people that do. Condemnation of Israel is pretty much the same as condemnation of apartheid South Africa though Israel has the added problematic of ethnic cleansing which to many minds makes it worse than South Africa was.

Double standards are wrong, period. But there is precious little criticism of Israel that could be construed as such given what is unique about Israel. The working definition could be used to stop people condemning operations like cast lead without taking time out to say that it was like Russia in Chechnya and the US/UK in Iraq. Most people who condemn Israel of course do condemn these things but does an editorial about cast lead have to mention Chechnya and Iraq or should an editor just be ready to point out where their paper has covered those things?

It all looks deliberately set to bog things down and hinder legitimate criticism and as such the Working Definition should be ditched. It certainly can't sit with a truly open and democratic party.

Levi9909 said...

Bob - I hate to say this because it's good to talk, as they say, but I think you are becoming more mealy mouthed which each comment.

Outrage expressed in Israel over comments made by other Israelis do not confirm that the comments are antisemitic, just embarrassing.

Zionazi is offensive you say, presumably because of where nazis feature in Jewish history, though as you know, many of today's nazis are very supportive of Israel. But Bernard-Henri Levi is credited with coining the term islamofascist, presumably knowing that Muslims are the main targets of fascists in France. I don't like zionazi because it's childish. I don't think it's essentially antisemitic. But to condemn zionazi without condemning islamofascist looks suspiciously like a double standard. Again remember that Engage, the CST and the Israeli Foreign Ministry want the wd included in EU members' laws.

The working definition has been produced by an agency that used to call itself the European Union Monitoring Centre of Xenophobia and Racism and now calls itself the Fundamental Rights Agency. You have now admitted to a few problematic areas and yet surely it was widely discussed before its submission. Is the CST admitting to these problematic wordings? Are they using it to monitor antisemitic incidents? If so, when they say there has been an increase in such incidents, how many amounted to Israel being compared to the nazis?

When I sit at my pc could I be arrested for loitering with intent to commit a hate crime by saying zionazi or saying that Jews should not have self-determination. If someone suspects that I briefed Deborah Fink on my argument and she agreed (which I don't think she does but let's pretend) could we be charged with conspiracy to commit a hate crime?

How, Bob, did such a sloppy (that's really what you're saying) definition pass any scrutiny to be taken so seriously by so many. And given its problematic nature and the fact that one of the more consistently serious posters here (Darren) thinks that it could or would stifle legitimate criticism should itself set alarm bells ringing. And remember he does think that antisemitism is truly a problem in the Green Party.

The wd is just plain wrong unless you trust its interpreters to allow the widest possible discretion in its "context" get-out. Given who its supporters are and the many times that they have falsely alleged antisemitism, I don't see how an honest person can accept that it is an earnest attempt at addressing the issue of antisemitism.

Again I ask you, Bob, stop digging.

Ta

bob said...

On context: It is a working definition, used as guidance in identifying antisemitic incidents. No definition of any racism can be comprehensive, and there will always be grey areas. L: "It is not the only working definition there is. Antisemitism is racism against Jews. That is a perfectly adequate definition to work with." That is a good enough definition in a simple "what does the word antisemitism mean?" sense, but is woefully inadequate in giving guidance for those attempting to monitor or respond to racism, as in the challenge the GPRC were faced with. If there is an alternative working definition that would help towards this, I'd be keen to know about it.

As I said before, I am not trying to advocate for this definition. Instead I am (a) saying that the GPRC was not foolish or naive in coming across this and thinking it was the most useful standard definition available, and (b) saying it is a good enough basis to start with and makes no attempt to close down criticism of Israel.

I don't quite get your CiF point. What CiF deletes and what it doesn't seems extemely arbitrary to me, with utterly hateful things regularly passing and completely inoccuous things regularly getting deleted. Perhaps they need to commission the GPRC to come up with stronger guidelines! But seriously, their arbitrariness shows why you need something more useful than "antisemitism is racism against Jews".

L: "As Darren said, the working definition is problematic in that it appears to be aimed at closing down legitimate criticism of the State of Israel." That's not quite what Darren said. He said this: "my understanding was that the Regional Council's decision to adopt the EUMC definition proved controversial as it was thought by some to stifle legitimate criticism of Israeli policy. This was debated at a meeting of the London Green Party at which I was present. I was persuaded of the case that this definition was problematic." As I said before, I think the definition is problematic, but it quite plainly does not stifle criticism of Israel, and there is no evidence that it intends to stifle criticism.

bob said...

L:"Israel does have some similarities with the nazis, like cherry picking the ethno-religious descent of its population, destruction of villages as retaliation, etc eg." It is true that Israel has superficial similarities to Nazi Germany, such as retaliatory destruction of villages, a policy pursued by several states, including by the British in Mandate Palestine I think. There is an argument to be made that Israel has attempted to cherry-pick the ethno-religious descent of its population, as indeed the argument could be made that Britain's "patrial" clause in its nationality law does, as Gordon points out. I once complimented Ken Livingstone for making the trains run on time and someone pointed out to me that this was comparing him to Nazis. So, yes, I suppose making very specific comparisons can be legitimate, and indeed making wrong comparisons is not always antisemitic. What is not legitimate is saying "Israel is a Nazi state", or "Zionists are Nazis", or using the term "Zionazi" and this is the type of thing the EUMC definition aims to capture, and this is the type of thing that has happened in the Green Party.

So, yes, context is everything, as the EUMC definition makes clear. So, calling Ron Proser a Zionazi is wrong, but arguing with Ron Proser that some specific Israeli policy might have a historic precedent is not wrong. Holding Ron Proser to account for what happens in Gazi is right, but holding a rabbi to account for what happens in Gazi is wrong. A Jew calling upon his rabbi to take an ethical stance on Israel in his pulpit speeches is not antismitic, but asking a rabbi to apologise for Gaza at an interfaith event is antisemitic. Seems to me all this is quite simple. Seems to me you accuse us of trying to stifle criticism of Israel, but what you are doing is trying to stifle criticism of racism.

bob said...

Acknowledging some loose threads, I have to go before my children riot.

Levi9909 said...

Bob - you are engaging in slippage.

"What is not legitimate" is imprecise and does not equate to antisemitism. Also you have avoided acknowledgment of the fact that Israel exists on the basis of an on-going and near complete transfer of population and that the transfer is taking place now, not just during the mandate nor during the genocide of the American and Australian native populations.

There is no reason why people should not focus on Israel as an illegitimate entity whilst not focusing on other states. Look how people focused on apartheid to the exclusion even of Israel. With hindsight (though I thought this at the time) Israel got off lightly and this working definition is intended to get it off more lightly still.

I understand that you have to attend to your children but I think you have failed to make a case for this definition.

I think it is deliberately restrictive and yet you seem to think that it can allow for the most permissive interpretations. Even if you are making your case in good faith, you must surely admit that the mere scope (if you are right) of its interpretations and its insistence that Israel as a state for Jews, above all states, must not be abolished makes the document suspicious in its intentions and completely useless as to what is and what is not permissible by reference to antisemitism.

The question of antisemitism really turns on whether or not something discriminates against Jews as Jews. For example, if I am running a business and I am overheard to say that I don't like to serve "coloured" people. Black people will probably be offended by this and would be discriminated against by the discomfort that I make them feel. If I say that I believe that Israel has no right to exist as a state specifically for the world's Jews or even simply that Israel should be abolished and a Jewish person says they feel uncomfortable, that does not amount to discrimination by me. That would be someone Jewish deciding that they don't like people who want to abolish the privileged situation of Jews vis a vis Palestine. No demand for the abolition of privilege, particularly privilege dispensed on an ethno-religious or racial basis can be deemed to be racist. That is what this working definition is trying to do. It is insulating Jewish (and by extension predominantly white western) racism as manifested by the existence of the State of Israel together with its policies and alliances. That Israel's policies are getting more racist and its violence is getting worse is neither here not there. It is the state's core existence that is the problem and it is not antisemitic to say so.

Levi9909 said...

Bob - I am very sorry, I hadn't noticed you not promoting the working definition, only you've jumped through many hoops making it out to be an earnest attempt to do what it says on the tin when it clearly doesn't even try and is actually antisemitic in itself unless you accept that Jews and the State of Israel are essentially interchangeable.

Also, I have been quoted out of context (by you) to make out that I missed the provisos on criticising other countries and context and I have been falsely accused of "glossing" when I have done no such thing.

I think the bitterness that this has generated alone, together with Darren Johnstone's own refusal to accept the WD (whilst saying that he believes there should be a specific policy on antisemitism) should be enough to not just not adopt it as a guide but to dismiss it altogether.

My involvement in all of this only began when I saw on Engage that Hugh Muir in The Guardian was saying that the Greens were behaving like a mainstream party in first saying they had a problem with antisemitism and then disbanding the working party set up to look into it.

Just like they should have stopped Hitler at Munich, the Greens should have come out fighting then or at least they should have offered an explanation. I even wrote to them about that and I got no reply. I then saw that Greens Engage were crowing that the Working Definition had been adopted by this GPRC, that some commentators on Engage were suggesting that it should be used to censure Caroline Lucas and some were even suggesting that it was a good "start"! What next?!

So I published it on my storage blog while I prepared a post. I was asked by various Greens including la Fink (my friend Deborah that is) to not publish it because it was not policy and was not supposed to be public anyway but I have now decided that openness is the best policy. If this thing isn't exposed and ridiculed for the sheer dishonesty and defence of Israel that it is, then it will be used more and more insidiously and there are many more thoroughly untrustworthy groups and individuals using it than I have already named.

I know I repeat myself but whilst my prime concern is for the humanitarian disaster being inflicted daily on the Palestinians, I think that zionism has been a disaster for Jews as well with its supporters engaged in a nasty attempt at refashioning the Jewish identity around the State of Israel and trying to implicate us all in its crimes and it is a crime against humanity. This WD is an attempt at letting zionists get away with all that without criticism and to ultimately use the criminal law against Israel's critics.

The Contentious Centrist said...

63 years after its establishment and some Brits are still agonising over the very fact that this baby was not aborted when it could have been aborted.

When a foetus is three months in the womb, it is possible to talk about abortion. When the foetus is 63 years old, abortion is an extremely cynical euphemism for murder, or, better still, execution.

Levi is calling for the execution of the Jewish state. He thinks he has God (as in, Human Rights) on his side which is why he always sounds so religiously righteous when he relentlessly preaches for collective capital punishment for Israel.

His is the unbeatable combination of mass violence allied to moral rectitude: As long as we do not kill this entity, we are complicit in its criminal existence. In order to achieve moral purity, we need to exterminate it.

weggis said...

Sorry, bin biz. Another wayward party member to deal with. This time not on anti-semitism but on Homophobia. It never rains……

Skidmarx @ 04 March, 2011 12:24

"I do wonder why he feels the need not to use your screenname, in a manner reminiscent of the way Andy Newman used to "accidentally" reveal the names of people he didn't like."

As Deborah Fink does to Weggis? @ 25 February, 2011 01:33 above and elsewhere. For the record I am also editor of Barkingside 21 just in case anyone thinks I am preoccupied with just one subject.

This thread is rather unusual for the internet and this issue. It descended into circular abuse at one point but has now emerged from that black hole to produce a rather interesting and informative debate.

Keep digging, Bob.

skidmarx said...

Weggis - yes she does do much the same. Was it objectionable? Did you or anyone else object to it? I'm sure that Bob would have removed it if you had.
Actually Bob seems to have run up against a brick wall in not being able to provide an answer to "why is any definition for anti-semitism needed beyond its being racism against Jewish people?" Though from yes comments about Rabbis I take it he is insistent on making the definition cover the intervention of the leader of Lewisham People Before Profit at Holocaust Memorial Day, which would seem to be wrong on several counts, as the man in question explained on the relevant thread. Trying to stretch the definition used for every other sort of racism so that uniquely it should protect the good name of Israel in all but designated forums doesn't seem like a balnced step to be taking.
I lot of things seem to have come up on the thread. A lot of commonly held allegations from Zionists, like "Zionism is never defined" or "The anti-Zionists make a special case out of Israel" have been easily refuted, yet I don't see any acknowledgement of this. After repeated requests, I'm still no wiser as to knowing what Greens Engage members may have commented on the thread that gave rise to the complaint of defamation and harassment. The seems to be an attitude that might be described as bad faith, if we hadn't learned from the start of this thread from Bennett that to suggest such a thing, even with supporting evidence, is to commit an anti-semitic offence.
[A couple of people accused me of twisting words, but then were silent when I asked what precisely had my distortion been. Why the silence?]

Noga said...

"why is any definition for anti-semitism needed beyond its being racism against Jewish people?"

Here is one possible explanation:

"Although they can also be called dirty, or cheating, or all the other unlovely adjectives that racists also apply to black people or Asians, it is only Jews who get this extra, subtle spin, that they are secretly in charge, secretly pulling the strings (of course it is only Jews who are not immediately recognisable as different, either – which is how we manage, I presume, to crawl under the wire and get weaving with all this secret stuff).

This is also what gives anti-Semitism a somewhat ambiguous status with the Left. Despite so many key Lefties being Jewish – Marx, Trotsky, y’know: that level of Leftie – many of them, some less consciously than others, harbour a sense that Jews don’t quite fit into that key Venn Diagram marked Oppressed/Worth Fighting For. Yes, there was the Holocaust, yes there was 2,000 years of persecution and pogroms and massacres, but a) quite a lot of them have got a fair wodge of cash, and b) Israel. "

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/comment/8363371/How-anti-semitism-entered-the-zeitgeist.html

Levi9909 said...

It's not true that antisemitism is special because of accusations of Jewish money and Jewish power. Arabs and Muslims have long since taken the place of that accusation in mainstream discourse from Amos Oz claiming a worldwide Soviet/Arab conspiracy, through Obama invoking the "tyranny of oil" to Tony Blair falling back on the al Qaida catchall when all his other lies about Iraq caught up with him. They are just three examples but there are many.

Even the mantra that Arabs have 22 states (no Arab has 22 states and there are only 18 Arab states anyway) and lots of oil (most Arab states haven't any)is an on-going example.

That leaves Israel as the only state that purports to represent the entirety of a non-territorial identity group and of course it is Israel that is being protected by this bogus definition.

It's a funny thing that Noga appears to have only read the article down to the bit she selected because I only skimmed to the end where Baddiel seems to be saying that antisemitism should be treated like any other form of racism:

"anti-Semitism isn’t quite considered proper racism. Most of the reports accused Galliano of anti-Semitism and racism, as if the two were different. The point was made continually that the women in the café were not Jewish: as if somehow his comments might have some qualifying validity if they were. A man who tweeted “you Jewish prick” at me once was called a racist by some of my followers, and he tweeted back at them: “Course I’m not a racist – I’m Pakistani!”
For him – and he’s not the only one – racism is black and white, and black and white only. But sadly, racism has many shades of grey: what should not have those shades – what should simply always be an unqualified shutting of the door – is the reaction to it."

Skidmarx's question and many of mine are still unanswered.

Noga said...

"there are only 18 Arab states anyway)"

From wiki:

"The Arab world (Arabic: العالم العربي‎ / ISO 233: al-ʻālam al-ʻarabi) refers to Arabic-speaking countries stretching from the Atlantic Ocean in the west to the Arabian Sea in the east, and from the Mediterranean Sea in the north to the Horn of Africa and the Indian Ocean in the southeast.

It consists of 22 countries and territories with a combined population of 360 million people starts from Mauritania West Africa and ends in Oman in the east."

But, no doubt levi has his own count and definition of what is an Arab. Can't wait to read it.

____________

And unlike self-identified Arabs who celebrate pan-Arab nationalism, Levy knows better:

http://angryarab.blogspot.com/2011/02/rejuvenation-of-arab-nationalism-andor.html

"The Arabic street is the one who is calling the shots now, the coming Arab policies will try and reflect the pulse of the Arabic street. The united Arab sounds are to be heard at last where no American veto could come out to obliterate the truth and where no need to waste more than one million innocent Arabs to allegedly get rid of a dictator.

It is time for the Palestinian intifada to spread beyond the borders of Palestine. It is time for Arab solidarity to come into action and effect and for pan-Arabism to be revived again; it is time for the Arab-Israeli conflict to be conducted by regimes that won’t sell out the Palestinian cause in secret."

http://www.veteranstoday.com/2011/02/26/arab-uprisings-time-out-for-israel-is-over/

Levi9909 said...

Actually Noga, more relevant is why you didn't mention that David Baddiel, whose article you invoked as a justification for having a separate policy on antisemitism, said that he thought that antisemitism was simply another form of racism and should be treated as such. You don't seem to have acknowledged that.

But since you've decided to focus on the part of my comment that had no relevance, my understanding was that there are 22 members of the Arab league including Palestine, which isn't a state and Somalia, Djibouti and the Comoros which I thought were not Arab but maybe Comoros is in which case there are 19.

It's no biggie and I was only being facetious anyway. I just think it's racist to say "the Arabs have XY states" when really most Arabs have only one state and the Palestinians, of course, have no state.

The issue still remains why there should be a separate policy on antisemitism and if it should be informed by the dodgy definition.

By the way, I was just looking at the history of the working definition and it's worse than I thought. Apologies if this has already been linked but here's something from Tel Aviv University that shows quite clearly that the aim of whoever proposed the working definition was to suppress any and all criticism of the State of Israel. There are 3 documents 1st of which is a history of antisemitism, 2nd looks like a first draft of the WD and the 3rd is the WD. Curiously, the words "could" and "context" which Bob has set so much store on, whilst more recently claiming not to be promoting the WD himself, do not appear in what I call the first draft. I only noticed just now that Bob says that this WD is being used and possibly raising an issue with my mention of an American zionist. I think that's a more accurate description of the American Jewish Committee's Kenneth S.Stern than "specialist on antisemitism".

Noga, said...

"Actually Noga, more relevant is why you didn't mention that David Baddiel, whose article you invoked as a justification for having a separate policy on antisemitism, said that he thought that antisemitism was simply another form of racism and should be treated as such. You don't seem to have acknowledged that."

It's hard to know how to respond to this whining.

The question was "why is any definition for anti-semitism needed beyond its being racism against Jewish people?"

And I provided one possible, very plausible explanation about why antisemitism is a type of prejudice with an extra malevolent persistent and unbeatable ingredient in it.

Here you are, levi, trying to score points by claiming that Baddiel did not say so. While he certainly did.

In the para you produce, he takes the measure of the society he criticizes when he says: "anti-Semitism isn’t quite considered proper racism."

He goes on to show that it is a certain culture in society that has relegated a special place and a waver to antisemitism, that it is culture
that differentiates between simple straightforward racism (as towards visible minorities) and antisemitism, a type of prejudice that gets all kinds of passes.

If Baddiel's premise had been, as you say, that that antisemitism was simply another form of racism and should be treated as such, he would not have spent his time and ours trying to show how antisemitism actually works and is treated differently. His entire point is that while antisemitism is as vile as any form of racism, it is NOT treated as such.

_______________

I find a certain contradiction between this rather lame attempt at explanation:

"my understanding was that there are 22 members of the Arab league including Palestine, which isn't a state and Somalia, Djibouti and the Comoros which I thought were not Arab but maybe Comoros is in which case there are 19."

And this statement:

"It's no biggie and I was only being facetious anyway."

So which is it? Are there only 18 (or 19) Arab states or were you merely being facetious by making such an obviously ignorant statement??

___________

Why would anyone give anything you say, about anything at all, any serious consideration, when in the space of two comments on a blog thread you managed to misunderstand a pretty simple to comprehend article and misrepresent easily verifiable facts about geography and demographics?

Levi9909 said...

I was right first time, Comoros isn't an Arab state by the definition of language. There are 18 Arab states.

Noga said...

"Actually Noga, more relevant is why you didn't mention that David Baddiel, whose article you invoked as a justification for having a separate policy on antisemitism, said that he thought that antisemitism was simply another form of racism and should be treated as such. You don't seem to have acknowledged that."

I see you didn't understand my explanation as to what Baddiel actually said.

It doesn't matter if yout hink, or you want to think, that antisemitism is a simple racism indistiguishable from other kind of racism because societies treat an antisemitic slur differently to how it treats a racist slur. Society gives the antisemitic slurrer a pass, finds excuses for it, etc. That's what Baddiel meant when he wrote:

"But sadly, racism has many shades of grey: what should not have those shades – what should simply always be an unqualified shutting of the door – is the reaction to it."

And the reaction to antisemitism is much more forgiving with many explanatics than it is to any other form of racism.

I would imagine this distinction is simple enough to grasp. I can present the facts and arguments to you but unfortunately, I cannot think for you.

Noga said...

You still need to explain what you mean by:

"I was right first time, Comoros isn't an Arab state by the definition of language. There are 18 Arab states."

"The Arab League currently has 22 members and four observers. The main goal of the league is to "draw closer the relations between member States and co-ordinate collaboration between them, to safeguard their independence and sovereignty, and to consider in a general way the affairs and interests of the Arab countries."

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Member_states_of_the_Arab_League

Comoros has three official languages one of which is Arabic.

"The islands of the Comoros share mostly African-Arab origins. Sunni Islam is the dominant religion, representing as much as 98% of the population. Although Arab culture is firmly established throughout the archipelago, a minority of the population of Mayotte, mostly immigrants from metropolitan France, are Roman Catholic.[5"

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Comoros#Demographics

The Comorans may define themselves as Arab but Levi doesn't accept
that definition. Why? Because.

I'd like to mention again what levels of engagement, reliable knowledge, and commonsense are to be expected from levi0009.

Why would anyone take such a sloppy thinker seriously is beyond me. He can't even commit to a set of verifiable facts that can be found in easily accessible sources.

Levi9909 said...

Noga - I acknowledged that I might have been wrong when actually I wasn't wrong. You could be gracious and acknowledge that you were wrong but instead you are filibustering like several before you and you have made yourself look utterly ludicrous making such an issue out your original insistence that there are 22 Arab states. There are 18 not 22 and even if there were 19, that is still not 22. And even if it was 22 it's still not relevant to the way the number is rendered by Israel advocates.

If you can call the identity or number of Arab states a point or issue, Arabness is usually defined by the first language of the majority of the people and the majority of Comorans speak Comoran as a first language. But still no biggie.

My point was clearly that the rendering of how ever many Arab states there are as "the Arabs have 22 states" is racist and that anti-Arab racism employs many of the tropes of antisemitism plus a few of its own.

Even the sloppiness of lumping the stateless Palestinians in with the non-Arab Somalis, Djiboutians and mostly non-Arab Comorans are examples of a casual anti-Arabness when you consider just how precious this working definition wants everyone to be towards those Jews that support the racist war criminals of Israel.

The conclusion of David Baddiel's article did not support the contention you claimed he was making and given the prevalence of anti-Arab racism, many would dispute his article anyway.

I'm sure Bob is relieved at your willingness to make yourself look so silly and in the process move the thread away from the hole he and others dug over this clear attempt at silencing criticism of Israel but I would still like to refer people to the link I gave earlier, since, unlike Noga's last couple of comments it is completely relevant to the post.

It's a history of the working definition that shows quite clearly that it is a deliberate attempt to silence criticism of Israel. The words "could" and "context" have been inserted almost grudgingly so that Israel advocates can pretend that its provisions are not as restrictive as they are clearly intended to be.

Contrary to Weggis's advice, Bob now appears to have stopped digging, I suggest you do the same Noga.

bob said...

I have started wading through the barrage of comments Levi has left here, and don’t have the time or inclination between my day job and family responsibilities to address the ins and outs of his position on Israel’s unique evilness in the world. Instead, I will limit myself to a few points regarding the matter at hand, which is the claim of institutional antisemitism in the Green Party and how to respond to it adequately.

On the CST, you can see their methodology quite clearly in their reports. You can see that Israel criticism is not included, but that some incidents relate to Israel. I looked at their report in more detail here. The CST and Searchlight may believe in stronger criminalisation of hate speech, but I personally am totally against using the law against racist expression, unless it we are talking about violent expression or perhaps clear incitement to violence. In general, I prefer other means of dealing with it. The GPRC’s use of the EUMC working definition was not about the law, it was about guidance on when and how the party should respond to specific allegations of antisemitism by one member against another. The notion of “loitering with intent to commit a hate crime” or “conspiracy to commit a hate crime” is preposterous, and nothing to do with the EUMC/FRA’s intentions, with GPRC’s intentions, or with mine, so your responses to my comments are completely tendentious. Yes, I would trust the CST or other monitoring bodies to be sensitive enough to context – as the CST clearly are in their latest incident report, where they ruled out a number of incidents reported to them on precisely the basis that they were anti-Israel and not antisemitic.

Nor do I see where you get your claim that the EUMC definition “insists” on any particular political stance vis a vis Israel’s “as a state for Jews, above all states”. Rather, it says that describing the EXISTENCE of the state of Israel as “a racist endeavour” MIGHT be antisemitic, “taking into account the overall context”. You’re spinning off into all sorts of places that neither I nor the working definition have been anywhere near.

Similarly, your claims about what is going on in Israel are ridiculously inflated, but this is a totally different issue, which I don’t have the time for right now. Just for example: “an on-going and near complete transfer of population” – and yet what population of the Israeli state’s population is Arab? Nowhere near 0%. And what population of historic Palestine’s population is Arab? (Checking quickly, Jewish population in Israel currently something like 5,778,468. Arab population something like 1,553,681, plus 3,935,249 in PA equals 5,488,930. Add Jordan, part of British Mandate, and you get nearly 12 million. Not very effective ethnic cleansing.)

By the way, I have absolutely no idea what this means: “Jewish (and by extension predominantly white western) racism”.

Another by the way: it’s Darren Johnson not Darren Johnstone. He did not “refuse to accept the WD”; he accepted that it was problematic. It being problematic may be a reason to keep working on a GPRC statement that works, something Darren voted for. It is not the reason to overturn standing orders, abandon the process, claim that there is no antisemitism in the Green Party, and then just not act. Imagine if a similar refusal to do anything took place with serious multiple allegations of anti-black or anti-Muslim racism in the party.

bob said...

"Actually Bob seems to have run up against a brick wall in not being able to provide an answer to "why is any definition for anti-semitism needed beyond its being racism against Jewish people?" Though from yes comments about Rabbis I take it he is insistent on making the definition cover the intervention of the leader of Lewisham People Before Profit at Holocaust Memorial Day, which would seem to be wrong on several counts, as the man in question explained on the relevant thread. Trying to stretch the definition used for every other sort of racism so that uniquely it should protect the good name of Israel in all but designated forums doesn't seem like a balnced step to be taking."

I am not sure whether the Jim Hamilton incident should be classed as an antisemitic incident, although I have no dbout it was crass, grossly inappropriate and a form of Holocaust denialism and condemn it for those reasons. Hamilton's direction of his comment at a rabbi makes a huge difference to how we assess his comment, as the rabbi essentially represents Jewishness and Judaism and not Israel. I was mentioning this because it relates to useful commentary CST provide in assessing the overall context, a key proviso of the EUMC working definition. They are clear that you can say things to Ron Proser, as a representative of the Israeli state, that you oughtn't to say to a rabbi, as a representative of the Jewish people. Simple as that. That I should give priority to what "the man in question explained on the relevant thread" any more than I should give credibility to a BNP member who says "I'm not racist but" - is beyond me. This is the logic that appears to be prevailing in the Green Party, with its official insistence that there is no need for a policy against antisemitism because, well, basically because Greens aren't racist and a priori no anti-Israel comments are racist, which is the only logical inference you can draw from a refusal to put into place guidelines or respond to allegations.

Having to deal with a case like Hamilton's is precisely why we need a definition of antisemtism beyond "it's racism against Jews". It is rarely clear-cut what is and what isn't racist, so you need guidelines to help the people that are responding to intra-party allegations. Again, very simple and straightforward and surely clear to any real anti-racist in the Green Party. If I ran into a brick wall on this, I didn't feel it.

bob said...

Just got to Levi's comment about Kenneth Stern. Yes, Levi, this has already been mentioned; I quoted from it and included the url in my comment at 28 February, 2011 17:26 above.

Levi denies that "expert on antisemitism" is a good way to describe Stern and prefers "American Zionist". For those of you with longer memories, Stern was the defence lawyer for the AIM activists, including Leonard Peltier, who were indicted for the events at Wounded Knee on the Pine Ridge reservation and regarded as heroes by most on the left who don't see everything through the framework of only-Israel-is-evil. He has written vast amounts on this case, on the Militia movement and religious right in America, on David Duke, on Nazi skinheads, and on hate crime in general. He has written nothing that I am aware of that is about Israel.

Stern's article says he was involved in drafting a statement along with other NGOs, that was used by the EUMC and the OSCE/ODIHR in their drafting of what they described as a non-legal definition. The key amendments made, comparing the "first draft" with that adopted as a working definition by EUMC/ODIHR and more widely disseminated, is precisely the caveats that make it workable: the word "could" and the "overall context" point. That is, the EUMC working definition is an improvement. (On the other hand, the "first draft" Stern notes has a better opening line: "Antisemitism is hatred toward Jews because they are Jews and is directed toward the Jewish religion and Jews individually or collectively."

bob said...

David Baddiel, as quoted by Noga: "But sadly, racism has many shades of grey: what should not have those shades – what should simply always be an unqualified shutting of the door – is the reaction to it."

That simple fact should be evident to any anti-racist. Unbelievable how much effort has been expended by Skid, Levi, Fink, and even Kuper trying to undermine it, and trying to stop the Green Party from shutting that door.

ModernityBlog said...

Bob,

I am bowing out, if you wish to indulge Elf, then it is your blog.

I would remind you you will receive nothing for your pains.

Elf doesn't read what other people write with any accuracy, he's not interested in other views, whatever his faults he goes on and on and on, in reams, and finally he has his own blog, if he wished to genuinely put the case.

He just wants to "take it" to the 'Zionists', in short he's voluminous pain in the arse.

PS: He couldn't even be bothered to read Toby's article, surely that tells you how serious he is.

He isn't.

Levi9909 said...

In other words, there's no case for Israel, only a case against it and the Working Definition is designed to prevent that case being made in any effective way.

skidmarx said...

Unbelievable...that you should still think the objection is to action being taken against actual anti-semitism, rather than to the conflation of anti-zionism and racism.

brockly dave said...

Brockley dave.
anti-zionists range from those who want israel to return to pre 67 borders to those who want israel destroyed and the jews to be removed.
With lots of different shades in between.
However one anti-zionist argument put forward is that israel is not needed for jews they can return to whichever country they immigrated from .Infact an earlier anti-zionist argument was that having a jewish state encourages anti-semetism because the jew haters can always say to jews go and live there your not wanted here.

If the anti-zionists want the destruction of israel and its replacement with Palestine then they need to have a plan for where jews will go .The forces that are likely to reclaim israel are likely to be hostile to jews so logically some or all jews will leave.

So really if the anti-zionists want israel to turn into palestine they need a plan for where the jews will go.First step in that is to ensure those who leave won,t face anti-semetism where they arrive.

So to me the greens have got it round the wrong way .Pass an anti anti-semetic policy before you even consider your anti-zionist policies.

But as we can see from this thread some anti-zionists can,t see the need for anti anti-semetic policy for various reasons .

Levi9909 said...

BD - The idea that the forces who would likely take over Palestine would be hostile to Jews is racist in that it assumes an inherent possibly violent hostility of Arabs towards Jews and it suggests that Arabs are singularly impervious to a negotiated settlement. Jews live freely and equally in societies with far worse and longer histories of Jew-hatred than Arab societies and no one is suggesting the establishment of Jewish supremacist states in the other countries where Jews live, no one is suggesting the ethnic cleansing of most of the non-Jews living among or near Jews outside of Palestine and only Israel and its advocates suggest that Jews should leave the countries outside of Palestine where most Jews live.

BTW, it is not antisemitic to assume that Arabs and Jews can live in peace within one state. just in case someone wanted to suggest it is. the WD suggests exactly that - subject to the terms and conditions of course.

The idea that a policy drafted by zionists to stop criticism of Israel (as the WD is a transparent attempt at doing) has to precede any policy against zionism is preposterous. It would preclude any policy against zionism in any of its manifestations.

brocklydave said...

levi
Nothing racist about commenting on the realities on the ground .I,m well aware that for centuries jews were treated better under arabs than europeans.
But we live in the now and over 800.000 jews left arab countries for israel after 48 and plenty of that was caused by hostility towards jews.

Firstly some jews would leave because israel would no longer be a jewish state ,whatever your feelings about that they have to go somewhere.Secondly would palestinians having taken over Israel be content to leave jews in places they regard as theirs .I,m sorry the anti-zionists are always justifying violence against Israel as resistance .But violence between arab and jew happend long before the establishment of Israel so why would it stop with the destruction of Israel.
You would have to be naive to believe hamas who are happy to murder their Fatah rivals would treat jews in Palestine well.
Millions of jews would leave and some of those would have to come to the uk.
So as a anti-zionist who wants Israel replaced with Palestine.;it makes sence to ensure jews are safe in the uk by supporting anti anti-semetic policy first.

Why call someone a racist because they recognise the reality of some jews wanting to leave Palestine .After all would you have called someone a racist for believing Arabs might want to leave Israel when it was formed?

Levi9909 said...

There is something wrong with suggesting that ethnicity rather than racism is responsible for the reality on the ground or that current reality is unchangeable, again by reference to ethnicity.

If Jews don't want to live in a state that is not specifically Jewish this is pretty much the same as Afrikaaners (or other whites) not wanting to live in a state that is not specifically white. It is not the problem of anti-racists to find them somewhere to live where they will feel superior because, hopefully the place won't exist and if it did, we would oppose that too.

Not all anti-zionists justify all violence against Israel. That's a self-serving argument aimed at justifying your implication that Arabs are intrinsically violent towards Jews and that it has nothing to do with the situation in Palestine. It also ignores the fact that Palestinians have suffered far worse violence from Israel than vice versa.

I am not naive about Hamas. You are racist about Palestinians. As it happens, Fatah have been violent to Hamas and Israel has been violent to all Palestinians regardless of affiliation.

I have made it clear why I think your points are racist but in addition, Israel's policies do not seem to be aimed at making Jews safe. On the contrary they seem to want to use a state of tension and feeling of insecurity to make a recently settled and diverse population gel as part of a new nation building project.

I think all of the commentators on this thread who advocate the adoption of the EUMCXR/FRA working definition of antisemitism (subject to terms and conditions) also want the status quo between Israel and the Palestinians broadly maintained. Also, the dishonesty of most of the comments nin favour of the WD has been breathtaking.

As it happens, you seem more honest than most but your generalisations about anti-zionists are ludicrous, your assumptions about Arabs have been racist and you don't seem to recognise any bad behaviour on the part of the State of Israel. I think your history of Jews in the middle east might be a tad skewed in favour of zionism too.

Anyway, I think there is enough bogus comment on the situation in Palestine in this thread alone to alert liberal opinion to the dangers of the working definition. Seeing the sheer transparency of the interests at play, I am now fairly confident that this WD will never be debated in any serious legislative, forensic or intellectual forum. If it was it would fail miserably. Hence the drip drip of slipping it into this union, that meida outlet and so on.

Coincidentally Dave, the WD essentialises Jews as zionists as surely as you essentialise Arabs as violent. It is an example of the form of racism it purports to define.

I think we're done but I'm wondering if Bob just wants to break the 200 comment barrier. Or maybe he wants the last word to go to a zionist without making it too obvious.

dave brockly said...

levi
if your an anti-zionist as you claim then i expect you to have done a bit of research about it.
One of the ways zionists persuading jews and others for support ,is by reminding jews that they will never be safe and accepted in anywhere except a jewish state.
So an intelligent anti-zionist would know that passing anti-anti-semetic policies actualy undermines one half of the argument behind zionism .
So why not do that?

Calling me a racist because recent history has shown arabs including palestinians have been violent towards jews is rediculous. I suppose you could call me racist if i pointed out that germans were violent towards jews in the 30,s and 40,s.

Nowhere have i said arabs are intrinsically violent towards jews .I made the point earlier that jews were treated better in arab countries than european for a long time in history.

Why not mention jewish violence and violence from the state of Israel is because we are talking about Israel no longer being a jewish state .

we are talking about zionism and anti-semetism .Anti-zionists quite often want Israel replaced by a unified Palestine and i,m focussing on that.

If you want to digress and talk about jewish/israeli violence then we can do that later.

It,s intersting that you want to talk about jews who don,t want to live under palestinian rule describing them as racists.
Yet i would never describe palestinians who didn,t want to live under jewish rule racists.
maybe both palestinians and jews would just be scared rather than racist.
incidently although i don,t sympathise with affrikaners
leaving south africa at the end of apartheid i still recognise they had to go somewhere.yes even though they may have been racist i still think the job of a left leaning liberal is to protect people you don,t agree with.
So why isn,t it of concern to you to protect jewish zionists ?

If you think its undesirable to have a jewish state in israel then its not unreasonable to ask you what will happen to the people there .

if you want jews in israel to accept a Palestinian state with no jewish controlled divide.
It is perfectly reasonable to ask you to pass anti-anti-semetic policies so if jews decide or have to flee they will be safe in the uk.

Noga said...

"I made the point earlier that jews were treated better in arab countries than european for a long time in history."


"In the empires resulting from the Arab and Muslim conquests, Jews, Christians and Zoroastrians--and later, Hindus and others-- were subjects far inferior in law to Muslims as a class. Tolerated non-Muslims, called dhimmis, were required to pay annual tribute, jizya, for the privilege of living another year. This is grounded in Qur'an 9:29 and remains part of Islamic law to this day, although formally abolished in the Ottoman Empire in 1855. Islamic law still views dhimmis as an occupied population to be "brought low" (9:29 & 2:61). The rules of dhimmi status, dhimma, also provide that dhimmis should not bear arms, that their garments must differ from Muslim garments, that they show deference to Muslims, such as dismounting when encountering a Muslim on the road. Since a horse is a noble animal, a dhimmi must not ride one. Further, a dhimmi's testimony in court is worth half of a Muslim's, etc."

http://www.hnn.us/articles/56698.html

____________

"Tudor Parfitt’s comprehensive 1987 study of the Jews of Palestine during the 19th century, concluded with these summary observations covering entire the period of his analysis, through 1882:

Inside the towns, Jews and other dhimmis were frequently attacked, wounded, and even killed by local Muslims and Turkish soldiers. Such attacks were frequently for trivial reasons: Wilson [in British Foreign Office correspondence] recalled having met a Jew who had been badly wounded by a Turkish soldier for not having instantly dismounted when ordered to give up his donkey to a soldier of the Sultan. Many Jews were killed for less. On occasion the authorities attempted to get some form of redress but this was by no means always the case: the Turkish authorities themselves were sometimes responsible for beating Jews to death for some unproven charge. After one such occasion [British Consul] Young remarked: “I must say I am sorry and surprised that the Governor could have acted so savage a part- for certainly what I have seen of him I should have thought him superior to such wanton inhumanity- but it was a Jew- without friends or protection- it serves to show well that it is not without reason that the poor Jew, even in the nineteenth century, lives from day to day in terror of his life”.

…In fact, it took some time [i.e., at least a decade after the 1839 reforms] before these courts did accept dhimmi testimony in Palestine. The fact that Jews were represented on the meclis [provincial legal council] did not contribute a great deal to the amelioration of the legal position of the Jews: the Jewish representatives were tolerated grudgingly and were humiliated and intimidated to the point that they were afraid to offer any opposition to the Muslim representatives. In addition the constitution of the meclis was in no sense fairly representative of the population. In Jerusalem in the 1870s the meclis consisted of four Muslims, three Christians and only one Jew- at a time when Jews constituted over half the population of the city…Perhaps even more to the point, the courts were biased against the Jews and even when a case was heard in a properly assembled court where dhimmi testimony was admissible the court would still almost invariably rule against the Jews. It should be noted that a non-dhimmi [eg., foreign] Jew was still not permitted to appear and witness in either the mahkama [specific Muslim council] or the meclis."

http://www.solomonia.com/blog/archive/2007/07/jews-under-the-ottomans/index.shtml

Levi9909 said...

I can't see much new here but this stands out:

I suppose you could call me racist if i pointed out that germans were violent towards jews in the 30,s and 40,s.

You are not suggesting the dispossession, expulsion and permanent banishment of the Germans nor are you suggesting that jews that live among germans, participating in the self-determination of germany, should live elsewhere because of the past and because they can't control the place as jews. you are only suggesting these measures in the case of palestine and arabs. that is racist. but not only that, the working definition of antisemitism, because of its defence of the State of Israel, could be used (and i believe that is its primary purpose) to defend your kind of racism. it would therefore conflict with any other anti-racist policy. that's possibly the main reason why antisemitism should be included in an overall policy of anti-racism.

davebrockly said...

levi
throwing accusations at me of racism is just a technique for avoiding the issue of anti-semetism.
The point is that if people think others to be violent towards them they leave.If that was true of Palestinians fleeing Israel then it might well be true of jews fleeing Israel.
You wouldn,t accuse Palestinians of being racist for believing jews might be violent so why accuse me.
Nowhere have i said that arabs are intrinsicly violent in any of my posts.
as for germany some of the few jews left alive left the country some stayed or returned.This was possible because the nazis were defeated and removed.
Nowhere have i stated i want the permanent exclusion of anyone palestinian or german.
The final resolution to the conflict between palestinians and israelis will be sorted out by them not me .I will be happy to see it as soon as possible.
It won,t be sorted by a lack of empathy for each others situation.
Maybe passing legislation oppossing anti-semetism in palestine may even be part of the resolution.

It looks to me you don,t actualy want to undermine one of the reasons for zionism .
Zionism was a solution to increasing anti-semetism in the pale of settlement and eastern europe.The influx of jews to the uk provided one of the reasons for the Balfour declaration .

If one of the main reasons for the creation of Israel was anti-semetism in europe it make sence to oppose anti-semetism for anyone including anti-zionists.

I,m beginning to think you believe that you think passing anti anti-semetic policies somehow compromises your anti-zionist stand .It dosen,t ,all it does is provide ample suspicion that anti-semetism is alive and well amongst anti-zionists.

Noga said...

Bob: I left a comment last night which seems to have vanished. Spammed away?

Dave of Brockley: You seem to have ambushed Levi's convictions from an unexpected angle. I suspect he is now experiencing George Costanza's dilemma when his two worlds irrevocably collided, Paraphrasing Abraham Lincoln, he declares, "A George divided against itself cannot stand!"

All levi can do is make the unsustainable claim that Jews fleeing Israel for fear of Arab revengism are racists.

bob said...

Noga, I de-spammed everything caught and took one of your comments out of the spam box a couple of hours ago.

dave brockly said...

noga
agreed
sadly there is plenty of racism around without inventing it.
levi seemd rather more interested in accusing me of racism than the issue i raised.
Surely if your a dedicated anti-zionist you would make the effort to try and understand the reasons and arguments behind Zionism ?

bob said...

This thread has gone so my many different places that there are many things I could say but would prefer it, if it continues, to get back to the core issue of the post: the question of whether or not there is antisemitism in the Green Party, whether that can be viewed as institutional antisemitism (as Toby suggests), how the Party has responded to it, and how it should respond to it, and perhaps how it can be explained.

I think there are a couple of key issues here.

The first is the nature of antisemitism today. Many of the allegations of antisemitism in the Party relate to particular intensified forms of Zionist- or Israel-bashing. Some anti-Zionists appear to make the a priori assumption that no criticism of Israel is antisemitic, while a tiny number of Zionists see all criticism of Israel as antisemitic. Most sensible anti-racists realise that some criticism of Israel is antisemitic.

It seems therefore correct to develop guidelines for identifying when this is the case, and a simple definition of antisemitism as "racism against Jews" is inadequate here.

The EUMC working definition may be a good starting point in developing such guidelines (I think it is), but is not enough.

Whether or not the working definition is useful seems to me to be a question independent of who it was written by, whether it was written by Americans or Europeans, what it intended or who has or hasn't ratified it. I see no evidence for the claim that it suppresses or intends to suppress legitimate criticism of Israel. This is worth arguing about, but is also a distraction from the issue of how to deal with very real allegations of racism within the party.

The Green Party, in my view, needs to develop its own policy, a process Toby Green was involved in, but a process that was undermined by the party including someone alleged to have been one of the perpetrators of antisemitic comments in its working group on defining it. In other words, the Party, after its initial suppressed report, has failed to act on the serious allegations of racism.

Is this because of bullying by new members? Because of a kneejerk anti-Zionist assumption of bad faith whenever antisemitism is mentioned? Because they don't care?

bob said...

The second key issue is what would constitute institutional antisemitism, and whether the party's reluctance to address complaints about antisemitism (while pursuing complaints about those complaining about antisemitism) can be called institutional antisemitism. I thought it might be helpful to have some definitions.

This is Stokely Carmichael's definition of institutional racism: "the collective failure of an organization to provide an appropriate and professional service to people because of their color, culture or ethnic origin".

Here are three other useful definitions, via the Guardian:

The Macpherson report: "The collective failure of an organisation to provide an appropriate and professional service to people because of their colour, culture, or ethnic origin. It can be seen or detected in processes, attitudes and behaviour which amount to discrimination through unwitting prejudice, ignorance, thoughtlessness and racist stereotyping which disadvantage minority ethnic people."

A. Sivanandan, Institute of Race Relations: "Institutional racism is that which, covertly or overtly, resides in the policies, procedures, operations and culture of public or private institutions - reinforcing individual prejudices and being reinforced by them in turn."

The Commission for Racial Equality: "If racist consequences accrue to institutional laws, customs or practices, that institution is racist whether or not the individuals maintaning those practices have racial intentions."

A key feature of institutional racism is that it does not require individuals to be actively racist (thus whether or not particular Greens are or aren't antisemitic is irrelevant). Another key feature is that it is denied within the institution where it flourishes, and indeed those who perpetuate it may do so wholly innocently and with no awareness of what they are doing. Often, inactivity and omission are what allow institutional racism to thrive, and not active prejudice.

bob said...

Norm puts my last comment more succinctly: "Imagine a play in which black characters are prominent and which uncritically relays several tropes standard in the racist disparaging of black people: such as that they're feckless and lazy, are sexual predators, lower down the evolutionary scale than whites, and so forth. Would this play be defensible on the ground that its author hadn't intended anything untoward by deploying such themes? [...] Only where anti-Jewish prejudice is concerned do some people try to swing it that there's no racism if it isn't in their minds. That it might be carried by words, symbols, well-known stereotypes, is a truth lost to them once Jews have become the subject."

http://normblog.typepad.com/normblog/2011/03/a-word-in-her-tin-ear.html

Or, imagine a series of allegations of consistent anti-black racism in Britain's fourth largest political party being ignored because "the party already has a policy against racism".

skidmarx said...

Some anti-Zionists appear to make the a priori assumption that no criticism of Israel is antisemitic, while a tiny number of Zionists see all criticism of Israel as antisemitic. Most sensible anti-racists realise that some criticism of Israel is antisemitic.
One of the argumentative tricks exposed in Straight and Crooked Thinking is this argument to moderation, "a logical fallacy which asserts that any given compromise between two positions must be correct." There can be a lot more sophisticated formulation of the anti-zionist argument. I don't spend a lot of time thinking about it so I might not get it perfectly right, but "there is some anti-semitism in society, and some of those anti-semites might express that through anti-Israeli actions. But to try and create a narrative that the reason why so many people in the Green Party, the U.K., or just about anywhere in the known universe think that there is something deeply obscene about the Israeli treatment of the Palestinians is down to some anti-semitic trope that always seems to be in the water, rather than because of what the Israeli state does is to fly in the face of reality" might be a place to start, rather than accepting that you're placing yourself sensibly between two equally wrong extremes.

bob said...

I am not making an "argument to moderation", although I agree the Levi position is an extreme one. Simply saying that only those totally blinkered by fundamentalist forms of Zionism or anti-Zionism cannot see that some antisemitism is linked to Israel. And by the sensible anti-racists, I would include many Zionists and many anti-Zionists.

You don't spend a lot of time thinking about it, but you certainly seem to spend a lot of time writing about it.

Our starting point on this issue should not be some narrative or counter-narrative about whether antisemitism is or isn't always there. (You claim a prevailing narrative says it is, while your own position seems to be to systematically deny it. It also seems to me that your position is the one that has prevailed so far in the Green party, and not mine.)

Rather, our starting point should be to take seriously allegations of racism and ask how to address them. Baddiel again: "racism has many shades of grey: what should not have those shades – what should simply always be an unqualified shutting of the door – is the reaction to it." We have a moral duty to take racism seriously, and those who a priori assume bad faith when they hear allegations of antisemitism refuse to do this.

skidmarx said...

I see no evidence for the claim that it suppresses or intends to suppress legitimate criticism of Israel.
I think both here and other threads there have been examples, but when you say:
Many of the allegations of antisemitism in the Party relate to particular intensified forms of Zionist- or Israel-bashing.
you seem to be saying that this is as legitmate an aim at least as its opponents'.

Is this because of bullying by new members? Because of a kneejerk anti-Zionist assumption of bad faith whenever antisemitism is mentioned? Because they don't care?Three Noes?

skidmarx said...

"The Macpherson report"
Somewhere, Paul Foot once did a brilliant dissection of the concept of institutional racism, showing how its use as a concept was designed to cover for the failure to deal with the actual racism and corruption in the Stephen Lawrence case. Not a useful concept.

bob said...

Where is Stokely Carmichael when we need him. Skidmarx has demonstrated his commitment to anti-racism by claiming that institutional racism is not a useful concept.

Of course, there was a sense in which Macpherson's analysis presented a racism so diffuse and invisible as to be agentless. But the opposite view, that racism is (just) about bigoted individuals, is more wrong. Institutional racism was a good characterisation of the Met in the 1990s, just as the processes of redlining and restrictive covenants that Carmichael spoke about were not about the prejudices of individual bank managers.

--

If tolerating antisemitism is not to do with antisemitism, nor to do with anti-Zionism, apathy or being intimidated by those who claim to be the Good Jews, what is it about? This, it seems, is the core question, and this is the question Skid, Levy and their allies and facilitators in the Green Party seem to have no interest in addressing.

bob said...

Paul Foot, "The Stephen Lawrence Case", Socialist Review 1998: "But institutional racism is still very much with us and shows signs of worsening."

Paul Foot, 1965: "The tiger of racialism, once unleashed, knows no master. It devours its liberators and its prey with equal ferocity." Anti-Zionists need to get off that tiger.

Levi9909 said...

bob - pious intonations are no substitute for sound analysis and honest argument.

when you say that anti-zionists should get off of the tiger you mean that we should be silenced or rubbished and that's why you support the EUMC WD that you said earlier in the thread you weren't promoting. you are now, insanely, claiming that it doesn't go far enough. so you are promoting it and then some...

by all means change your mind, but at least admit that's what you've done.

bob said...

My attempt to get this post back on track have obviously failed.

when you say that anti-zionists should get off of the tiger you mean that we should be silenced or rubbished Er, no, I'm just saying you ought to stop creating a space for racism. I'm not trying to silence anyone. Maybe I'm "rubbishing" the creation of a space for racism, but I'm not sure that's such an offence. Please, let's keep things in proportion. We are talking about guidelines on how to recognise antisemitism, not legislation on putting people in prison.

and that's why you support the EUMC WD that you said earlier in the thread you weren't promoting. I don't know what you mean by "supporting" or "promoting". I am saying now, as I think I've always said, that it is a useful starting point, adopted by the GPRC sensibly and in good faith. That's all.

you are now, insanely, claiming that it doesn't go far enough. so you are promoting it and then some.. I'm not saying it "doesn't go far enough". I'm saying it is a useful starting point. The Green Party should develop policy that reflects its own realities.

I'm going off line now, and will probably not be able to check in for 24 hours. And probably won't further engage in the same circular debate. If people have a problem with the idea of closing the door on racism, then they really have no business here. Anyone who wants to honestly discuss the issues the Green Party faces, and how they can move forward, pleas contribute.

Levi9909 said...

My position is not extreme or even particularly entrenched though I am more consistent in my arguments than Bob.

I have accepted that there might be an issue with antisemitism in the Greens, though I am not convinced and I have said there might be a case for a specific policy on antisemitism though I am not convinced of that either.

But only a liar or a fool would claim that the EUMCXR/FRA WD is an earnest attempt to address or inform that policy. Whoever it was on the GRPC that suggested the WD was in the fool category.

Bob has gone from all out support for the working definition to the extent of suggesting that those who oppose it are tolerant of antisemitism but then he has said he is not promoting it. For all his comments, not once has he suggested an alternative definition in substance or in style.

Also, having said that antisemitism needs special treatment, he is now using quotes on institutional racism by people who clearly were not referring to antisemitism.

BTW, I have just checked the original Greens Engage post about the GPRC and whoever proposed the WD as a guide said the following: We recognise that it may need to be revised in light of the recent Citizen Act/Nationality Act in Israel.

They have proposed a definition of antisemitism that might change if Israel behaves badly. That is the ultimate absurdity and for it to pass without comment from the self-styled opponents of antisemitism shows how little they either know or truly care about antisemitism. This does not simply open the door to criticism of Israel it seems to admit that the WD is a sop to Israel's supporters.

skidmarx said...

If tolerating antisemitism is not to do with antisemitism, nor to do with anti-Zionism, apathy or being intimidated by those who claim to be the Good Jews, what is it about?
Tolerating, or not tolerating anti-semitism is about anti-semitism. It is not about getting upset when anti-zionists present their arguments.

Simply saying that only those totally blinkered by fundamentalist forms of Zionism or anti-Zionism cannot see that some antisemitism is linked to Israel.
Again, this is not an argument accurately presented. Some anti-semitism appears as attacks on Israel , does not mean that we need to think that the priority when considering fundamental political criticisms of Israel is to see how they can be claimed as racist rather than thinking about whether they are true.

You don't spend a lot of time thinking about it, but you certainly seem to spend a lot of time writing about it.
You raise the issue, I respond, and then my view is responded to. Would be a cheap point even if it was right.

those who a priori assume bad faith when they hear allegations of antisemitism refuse to do this.
Only I didn't. I made an a posteriori assumption of bad faith after reading that Toby Young made the assumption that Israel is "the secular form of Judaism" and so attacks on the legitimacy of such a racist state are synonymous with anti-semitism. If you want this discussion to go forward and not circle back to its start then not repeating the same distortions would be a good thing to do. Once again, what would support a rational debate is those supporting the Greens Engage position actually answering the questions put to them (I would repeat, but if they haven't shown any signs of responding so far I think I would be wasting my time), their silence suggests to me that they are only interested in debating with themselves and shouting at others, and that the search for anti-semitism in the Green Party is rather a search for ways to delegitimise anti-zionism. If Bob wants to dispute this, how about examples of anti-semitism in the Green Party that aren't linked to the Israel/Palestine debate?

dave brockly said...

Anyone serious about their ant-zionism should be trying to ensure anti-semetism is dealt with.
Infact anti-zionists i don,t agree with believe combatting anti-semetism is a pre requisite for tackling zionism.
from Alan hart
zionism the real enemy of jews
"But… I also say that it’s unreasonable and unrealistic to expect the Jews of the diaspora to play their necessary part in bringing the Zionist state to heel, and averting a Clash of Civilisations, unless and until they receive the maximum possible in the way of reassurance about their security in the mainly Gentile world of which they are citizens. And this is why I call in my Epilogue, The Jews As the Light Unto Nations, for a New Covenant, not between the Jews and their God, but between the Jews and the Gentiles. (The primordial point here is that deep down almost every diaspora Jew lives with the unspeakable fear of Holocaust II and thus the perceived need, if only in the sub-consciousness, for Israel as the refuge of last resort; which is why, without the maximum possible in the way of reassurance, they won’t even think of obliging Israel to be serious about peace)."

I don,t agree with Alan Hart on zionism ,but as mentioned in my earlier post escaping anti-semetism was one the main driving forces behind zionism.

So it makes sence for the greens to tackle anti-semetism before they consider zionism.

The ongoing reluctance of the Greens to pass anti-semetism policies doesn,t help the Palestinians one bit.

But then some on this thread seem more interested in hating Israel than really helping the palestinians .
You cant help but wonder why?

brocklydave said...

i just don,t understand why anti-zionists arn,t more interested in tackling ant-semetism.

Some anti-zionists realise its actualy the most important issue .
from Alan hant description of his book .
Zionism the real enemy of the jews

"But… I also say that it’s unreasonable and unrealistic to expect the Jews of the diaspora to play their necessary part in bringing the Zionist state to heel, and averting a Clash of Civilisations, unless and until they receive the maximum possible in the way of reassurance about their security in the mainly Gentile world of which they are citizens. And this is why I call in my Epilogue, The Jews As the Light Unto Nations, for a New Covenant, not between the Jews and their God, but between the Jews and the Gentiles. (The primordial point here is that deep down almost every diaspora Jew lives with the unspeakable fear of Holocaust II and thus the perceived need, if only in the sub-consciousness, for Israel as the refuge of last resort; which is why, without the maximum possible in the way of reassurance, they won’t even think of obliging Israel to be serious about peace). "

I disagree with the book but i must say fighting anti-semetism should be a priority for anti-zionists and others.

The fact that it isn,t in the Green party has understandably left people rather suspicious .

skidmarx said...

David Baddiel in "Not always seeing it in black and white" shocker.

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