Sunday, March 20, 2011

Is Lewisham Islamic Centre a centre of hate?

This post is about Lewisham Islamic Centre, also known as Lewisham and Kent Mosque, on the main road between Lewisham Hospital and Catford. All the information is second hand; if anyone has any additions or corrections, please leave a comment.

Habibi at HP has a post claiming the Centre is a centre of extremist hate preaching, noting former imam Shakeel Begg, whose various unsavoury positions were the subject of an old post of mine (here).

The post focuses on an event at the centre, at which a pro-stoning and antisemitic speaker from Saudi Arabia, Muhammad Salih al-Munajjid, was to be live in satellite link. The promotional material for the event includes an attack on Usama Hasan, a Muslim cleric who has spoken out against extremist forms of Wahhabi Islam. Saleem Begg, who has also been an imam at Lewisham, has incited violence, even murder, against Usama Hasan.


Habibi continues:
Note that the Lewisham Islamic Centre says “we would like to thank Tayyibun for supporting this initiative working with us to host the speakers”. That’s the Tayyibun Institute, which will do its bit to promote hate preachers at its own conferences at the East London Mosque and Birmingham’s Rex Centre this weekend.

Amusingly, the Lewisham Islamic Centre has been chosen as a partner for hate crime reporting by the local council [Lewisham council].
Recognising that some people may feel more comfortable reporting hate crime incidents within their own local community network, the newly extended system means that hate crime can now be reported not just to the Council or Police, but also by contacting one of eight community organisations.
The local police commander [Borough Commander, Chief Superintendent Jeremy Burton] said:
I am so proud of the groups who have come forward as sites and I know that they think it is as important as I do to encourage everybody to report crimes so that the police and partners can tackle these unacceptable crimes.
I am sure that the Centre will report itself promptly for promoting hated of Usama Hasan and all the kaafirs out there.
After reading the post, I added some comments to my old post in a clumsy attempt to update.

[UPDATE March 28 2011: Brockley Central have reported that Lewisham council inform them that: "The Islamic Centre is not a third party reporting site. They gave initial commitment last March to the scheme, and were included in the original leaflets but have since been pulled from the list. They did not agree to sign up to the reporting protocol."]

[UPDATE May 24 2013: I have written more about the Centre here, talking the story up to 2013, in light of alleged link of Michael Adebolajo to the Centre.]

83 comments:

Anonymous said...

Clearly it is.

Jew-hating loons.

Tor Hershman said...

Hate/Love, WTF...they're both in a neck 'n neck race to see which can kill the most people.

skidmarx said...

Oh dear, the EDL will be Liking you soon.

sackcloth and ashes said...

Well, Bob, it looks like our genocidaire-loving friend skidmark will be smearing you soon.

Still, it means he doesn't have to explain why his party plays host to Gilad Atzmon, or why one of his comrades (Tom Hickey) cites the Holocaust Denier Roger Garaudy with approval:

http://www.engageonline.org.uk/blog/article.php?id=832

Waterloo Sunset said...

In that little spat, it's interesting how unwilling HP seem to capitalise on the "What about Fitz and Searchlight?" argument.

Do you reckon Nick's had a word? (Andy is deleting comments about it, again)

Levi9909 said...

I thought Andy Newman, who I think is a bit of a dimwit anyway, was firing a cheap shot at HP in making out that the EDL's praise of HP is somehow HP's responsibility. The problem is, a few HPers have now contributed to the thread and none have even tried to explain why the EDL find HP such a praiseworthy site so HP is left looking, at best, silly.

Now S & A, can you show us where Tom Hickey "cites the Holocaust Denier Roger Garaudy with approval"? I checked the link you provided and all I could find was this:

During the half an hour for which Hickey answered questions, projected behind him on a screen, was Ismail Patel’s recommended reading list on Israel. This list included, in big letters, Roger Garaudy’s “The Case of Israel”. Garaudy is a Holocaust denier who believes that no gas chambers were used by the Nazis and who believes that there was no plan to kill the Jews of Europe.

It is Ismail Patel who seems to be recommending Garaudy and that's if we can believe anything on Engage. Do we know that Hickey even knew what was "projected behind him on a screen"?

But you said Hickey cites "Garaudy with approval" and you provided a link as if to be proving your assertion. There was no proof there for your assertion. So where is the proof?

Don't misunderstand me, I'm not saying there is no proof. I am saying that you have not provided it and so I am asking you if you could provide it.

Don't worry if you can't. I won't be disappointed or even surprised either way.

Thanks

Levi9909 said...

comments seem to be disappearing from this thread too.

Levi9909 said...

Third try with something like this:


I thought Andy Newman, who I think is a bit of a dimwit anyway, was firing a cheap shot at HP in making out that the EDL's praise of HP is somehow HP's responsibility. The problem is, a few HPers have now contributed to the thread and none have even tried to explain why the EDL find HP such a praiseworthy site so HP is left looking, at best, silly.

Now S & A, can you show us where Tom Hickey "cites the Holocaust Denier Roger Garaudy with approval"? I checked the link you provided and all I could find was this:

During the half an hour for which Hickey answered questions, projected behind him on a screen, was Ismail Patel’s recommended reading list on Israel. This list included, in big letters, Roger Garaudy’s “The Case of Israel”. Garaudy is a Holocaust denier who believes that no gas chambers were used by the Nazis and who believes that there was no plan to kill the Jews of Europe.

It is Ismail Patel who, according to Engage, seems to be recommending Garaudy. Do we know that Hickey even knew what was "projected behind him on a screen"?

But you said Hickey cites "Garaudy with approval" and you provided a link as if to be proving your assertion. There was no proof there for your assertion. So where is the proof?

Don't misunderstand me, I'm not saying there is no proof. I am saying that you have not provided it and so I am asking you if you could provide it.

Don't worry if you can't. I won't be disappointed or even surprised either way.

Sarah AB said...

I tried - I think it's comment 121

Waterloo Sunset said...

The Harryites should really be ashamed of themselves. How can you lose at a flame war with Andy Newman, of all people? He's not even having to DELETE FUCKING EVERYTHING yet.

This is very srs bsns and the most important issue in the blogosphere today.

sackcloth and ashes said...

'Levi9909', I would have responded to you on SU had I seen this earlier. Unfortunately, Cardinal Newman has closed the thread, so I'll have to respond here.

Hickey may have been using Ismail Patel's reading list, but he is still citing it - and its contents - with approval. Either he is not aware that Garaudy is a Holocaust denier, in which case why should we take seriously someone who does not take the time and trouble to check the provenance of the sources he cites, or the background of their authors - or he does.

In any case, it fits in with the pattern of anti-Semitic behaviour that the SWP has followed since the late-1970s, when it started to target Jewish student groups on British campuses:

http://hurryupharry.org/2010/11/08/from-the-vaults-socialist-worker-1977-1978/

Levi9909 said...

sarah - i didn't know you were an HPer. In fact, now I've checked your comment you even say "Please note I speak only for myself though."

WS is right. And I think I was right too. This should have been much ado about nothing. None of us can choose who approves of our blogs but Andy Newman seems to have sent the HP team into a panic.

Sarah AB said...

Fair enough Levi - Michael Rosen made the same point. I replied because I'm associated with HP, and I should perhaps have at least made that clear in my comment, yet I didn't want to imply that everyone else associated with HP would agree with my answer to the question or would think the question should be answered in the first place.

Levi9909 said...

Thank you for the clarification Sarah.

Sackcloth and ashes - you gave a link claiming that it proves that Hickey cites Garaudy approvingly and yet the link you gave did no such thing. So where is the proof?

Further, the old chestnut of the SWP campaign for no-platforming Jewish societies is not evidence of antisemitism. There has been much discussion of this on David Osler's blog and whilst he no longer supports the policy, he certainly isn't accusing the SWP of antisemitism over it. I don't know whether the Union of Jewish Students should be no-platformed or not but it is galling that whilst they have two seats on the World Zionist Congress their activists are busily having students' unions adopt a bogus working definition of antisemitism that is clearly aimed at preventing anti-zionist speech altogether and severely curtailing the right to speak against Israel er subject to "context" and if you don't criticise other "democratic nations".

No one (except maybe Tony Greenstein) spoke out more loudly or persistently than me against the SWP's 4 year long fraternisation with Gilad Atzmon but the false allegations of antisemitism levelled at the SWP over the decades put people like Tony and me in a boy who cried wolf situation. It is still the case that most SWPers, without even looking at what Atzmon says, simply do not believe that the SWP would knowingly host an antisemite and no one can get the truth out of any of the people responsible. So they shot themselves in the foot in a big way and now they have tried to cover their tracks over the whole sorry saga.

Anyway, it's all a long way off topic so rather than opening new arguments, just provide a link that proves the Hickey/Garaudy stuff.

Thanks

Waterloo Sunset said...

Protip for HP:

When claiming that attacks on you using guilt by association are unfair, it might help your case if you don't post any "ZOMG GALLOWAY AND GRIFFIN ARE BOTH AGAINST THE NFZ IN LIBYA!!!" articles until the storm in a teacup blows over.

skidmarx said...

Levi9909 - that link you gave on Socialist Worker and Atzmon doesn't seem to note that the article from www.socialistworker.org is thus to the website of the International Socialist Organisation, which used to be , but hasn't been for a few years, the sister grouping of the British SWP.
Not knowing anything about the issue this seemed to me like a reasonable statement from an SWP blogger, though I can appreciate you might think that not all the SWP were so on-message at the time. The crying wolf and the SWP thing rings very true, for some reason "assumption of bad faith" is a phrase that springs to mind.

WS - I'd agree with much of those last couple of comments.

Waterloo Sunset said...

Nah, the SWP hosting of Atzmon was farcical. That did, I think, show pretty conclusively that the SWP are unable to recognise antisemitism if it's (literally) staring them in the face. And I don't find the "it's because people said meen fings about them in the past" defence at all convincing. I'm prepared to accept Hanlon's Razor applies here, however.

(And "FreeThePeeps" needs a fucking slap, while we're in this vague area).

Not that the Harryites can talk, considering David T and Mikey Ezra were going out socialising with Atzmon at the time.

Levi9909 said...

Well spotted SM. It was clumsy blogging on my part. Some way after saying, This denunciation of Gilad Atzmon's undoubted racism on the Socialist Worker website raised a bit of a cheer at the Just Peace UK list, I should have then said (and I now have said), But our good cheer was not to last. Richard Kuper issued a mea culpa to say that he had boobed and that the self-recrimination was from the American SWP, not the UK one and they are not sister parties.

That's why I called the post "a tale of two Socialist Workers".

I agree that Lenin's post was and is the SWP's position on antisemitism which makes it all the more inexplicable why the SWP issued several invitations to Atzmon over a 4 year period beginning after Lenin's post, to give talks at Bookmarx and Marxism and to play at Cultures of Resistance.

If you search Atzmon, SWP, Bookmarx at JSF there is a lot more to see and it ain't pretty.

Levi9909 said...

Sorry WS, didn't see you there.

I think Lenin's post that skidmarx linked does show that they do indeed know what is antisemitism and what is not. if anything the SWP have been very cautious in the past, criticising for example, Finkelstein for titling his book "The Holocaust Industry" and refusing to support the play Perdition during Holocaust Memorial Week.

All of their responses to complaints about Atzmon didn't show a lack of understanding, they were evasive and dishonest. I don't think they once addressed a specific complaint.

In fairness, most SWPers that I have met haven't even heard of Atzmon but they always assume that I am either lying or mistaken when I say that he is antisemitic and that the SWP hosted and promoted him for 4 years.

But you're right, Atzmon's drinking buddies from HP aren't in the strongest of positions to criticise.

ModernityBlog said...

The situation concerning Garaudy is well documented, as is Ben White's use of him too.

It does seem very sloppy, to say the least that "anti-Zionists" can't spot a Holocaust denier like Garaudy?

I suppose they only know of David Irving from reports in the Guardian...

Strange how the SWP could be troubled to put out a very clear statement DEFENDING Atzmon, but not one admitting their mistakes or the contents of Atzmon's obvious racism?

bob said...

Didn't we do all this on Atzmon here http://brockley.blogspot.com/2010/11/mishmash.html#comments ? Been thinking of turning one of my comment there into a post some time. Here it is:


Summer 2004: Atzmon speaks and performs at Marxism 2004

Summer 2005: Socialist Review has a rave review of the Orient House ensemble tour (only note of criticism is that he likes Ken Livingstone too much), and Atzmon plays Marxism 2005 as well as speaking at Bookmarks. Jews Against Zionism picket the Bookmarks event. JAZ are not by any means an oversensitive pro-Israel group, but made up of left-wing people like Tony Greenstein, Moshe Machover and Hilary Rose. Leading left-wing anti-Zionist website Labournet plays major role in this. SWP responds with a statement that refuses to accept any truth in the allegations.

2006: SWP organises “Five for Trane” concerts featuring Atzmon and Martin Smith. At least two gigs.

July 06: Atzmon criticised by Richard Seymour as "disgraceful, incoherent and completely at odds with what the SWP stands for" and a "crank".

Autumn 2006: Atzmon speaks and plays alongside Galloway and Martin Smith at an SWP organised Stop the War event in Tower Hamlets.

January 2007: Michael Rosen, a high profile Jewish anti-Zionist very close to the SWP, criticises SWP for hosting Atzmon. Organisers of Cultures of Resistance deny he is an antisemite. Evidence? “We would never give a platform to a racist or fascist. Our entire history has been one of fierce opposition to fascist organisations and antisemitism.” Therefore impossible that Atzmon could be a racist, because he was invited to our event.

Summer 2007: Atzmon plays Cultures of Resistance gig at Marxism 2007, and later Socialist Review gives another rave review of his CD Refuge, with no note of criticism.

Autumn/Winter 2007: Atzmon plays an SWP fund-raiser, Now’s the Timer, with Martin Smith. Four gigs.

January 2008: Atzmon now an explicit Holocaust denier, as revealed by Tony Greenstein and others, eliciting no comment from the SWP, despite their close association with him.

May 2008: Socialist Review again promotes Atzmon, listing him in their “Five things to get or see this month”

April 2009: Another Socialist Review rave review of an Atzmon CD, In Loving Memory Of America, again no note of criticism.

October 2010: SWP promotes the Jazza Festival, featuring Atzmon and several Atzmon linked groups.

November 2010: No trace left on any SWP website of their earlier statements and clarifications about Atzmon, and pro-SWP web trawlers like Skidmarx re-write history to claim that the SWP never liked him really.

Have I got anything wrong?

ModernityBlog said...

Indeed Bob, it is possible to find Atzmon stuff on SW, if you hunt around a bit, not that most of the "anti-Zionists" here would even TRY...

From 2006 "Courtney Pine, Gilad Atzmon, Rodney P and Sam Beste are taking part in a concert for Socialist Worker's appeal – they spoke to Martin Smith

“I like the idea of artists from different musical traditions and from all corners of the world coming together to oppose racism, to demand world peace and support the Socialist Worker appeal.”

So said Rodney P who, alongside Skitz, Courtney Pine, Gilad Atzmon and Sam Beste, will be performing at a benefit concert to raise money for the Socialist Worker appeal.

The event, Cultures of Resistance, will take place in the atmospheric Union Chapel in Islington, London, on Friday 8 December. Make sure you get your ticket now."

http://www.socialistworker.co.uk/art.php?id=10234

ModernityBlog said...

This is ironical:

"I was sorry that Michael Rosen feels that antisemitism “doesn’t matter as much” to some people as other forms of racism today.

It should matter, because all racism has to be opposed. But in the current context, two further points should be made.

The state of Israel and its policies towards Palestinians lead some people to equate Jews with Israel’s ideology of Zionism. We have to constantly explain that not all Jews are Zionists, and not all Zionists are Jews (some of Israel’s strongest supporters are the neocon Christians in the US).

We also have to recognise that in Europe today the main form of racism, taken up and propagated by governments and media, is against Muslims. This scapegoating has direct parallels with the situation of the Jews in the 1930s.

Of course other groups suffer racism as well. The Nazis were humiliated by the black athlete Jesse Owens at the 1936 Berlin Olympics, whose performance didn’t fit in with their views of Aryan supremacy.

But the main form of racism was still against Jews. Today the caricatures and demands to integrate are not directed at Jews but at Muslims.

While it’s a mistake not to recognise racism in any form, it’s at least as big a mistake to fail to understand the main form of racism at any particular time.

Let’s not make any of these mistakes.

Lindsey German, East London"


http://www.socialistworker.co.uk/art.php?id=10438

Levi9909 said...

Chronology's out of kilter.

Richard Seymour's post, linked by skidmarx was July 2004 not 2006.

That's the whole point. They all knew of Atzmon's antisemitism when they booked him for the picketed Bookmarx event and for Marxism 2005 and everything after that.

Mind you, I don't know if Galloway would have known of it especially as the SWP were covering for him.

Also, is skidmarx rewriting the history? Lenin clearly didn't like Atzmon back in 2004 and that was the SWP's consistent position until somebody decided to invite him to Bookmarx and Marxism 2005.

After that, the entire SWP developed at best a wise monkeys approach, at middlest they covered for him by denying his antisemitism and at worst they allowed him to vent his antisemitism by describing Jews against Zionism as a "powerful lobby".

Does skidmarx know about all this stuff?

Levi9909 said...

I meant Bob's chronology.

Levi9909 said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
ModernityBlog said...

"Lenin clearly didn't like Atzmon back in 2004 and that was the SWP's consistent position "

Really? How does that tally with the actual evidence?

Issue 1094, June 2004:

"Acclaimed jazz musician Gilad Atzmon will be speaking and performing at Marxism 2004. He talked to Nick Grant

Gilad Atzmon wanders on stage in Brighton tugging on a customary cigarette. "Smoking kills," he announces. "But Blair kills more." On clarinet or saxophone, Gilad is now among the top UK-resident jazz musicians, winning awards and plaudits from all corners. Last year his Exile album won both the Radio 3 and Time Out awards for jazz album of the year.

But Gilad's fearless tirades against Zionism — the ideology behind the Israeli state — have cost him in terms of lost gigs and constant vigilance about personal security."

July 2004, they praise him in Socialist Review.

December 2004, again praised in Socialist Review.

By 2005 they defended Atzmon saying

"The SWP does not believe that Gilad Atzmon is a Holocaust denier or racist. "

http://web.archive.org/web/20080403054451/http://www.swp.org.uk/gilad.php

That's their defensive statement on him.

So the only consistent thing is that during this period the SWP wanted to kiss Atzmon's arse.


[PS: If I paste in too many links the comment gets stuck in the spam queue, but there ARE links to prove ALL of the above points.]

sackcloth and ashes said...

'None of us can choose who approves of our blogs but Andy Newman seems to have sent the HP team into a panic'.

I'd hardly say so. Aside from a couple of comments from Gene and Graham, I was the only one responding to Newman's smear. And as has already been noted on this thread, the fact that sell-outs like SU and red-brown types like the SWP accuse HP of association with the far-right is not only false, but utterly hypocritical.

Levi9909 said...

Mod - you are simply posting what bob posted only mostly without dates. you are also mostly posting stuff from after Richard Seymour's post or before Atzmon started making antisemitic remarks.

You say the SWP "praised" him but you don't say what they praised. What you need to do (if you want to flesh out your skeletal echo of Bob's comment) is give examples of what Atzmon said or did that the SWP praised.

As far as I know, they invited him to Marxism 2004 not knowing anything of any antisemitism on his part and when he spoke he was denounced and jeered. Lenin did a post denouncing him as did another SWP blogger. The trouble all starts when, knowing him to be antisemitic, the SWP booked him for Bookmarx and Marxism 2005 and kept him in tow for some years after that before dropping him and then trying to cover their tracks.

The Lyndsey German letter was interesting mod but apart from that you've added nothing new.

ModernityBlog said...

Again not engaging with the evidence, it's perfectly possible to find the links and the text in which the SWP praises Atzmon.

If, however, you wanted to argue a case that one particular member was uneasy and wrote about it then I suppose you could say that, rather weakly.

The fact is from 2004 onwards, there is documentary evidence of the SWP praising Atzmon, both musically and politically.

The praise is in the Socialist Worker, it is in their periodicals and website, if you have the competence to find it.

It is best that we didn't nit-pick over these *facts*, afterall they are facts.

The SWP were very consistent for years, when Atzmon appeared they kissed his arse, they excused him, they denigrated anyone pointing out Atzmon's racism, they even issued a statement defending him etc etc

And later on, when his racism could no longer be denied, they fell silent and learnt no political lessons.

That's consistent for you, thick before, thick during and chronically thick afterwards.

bob said...

I did indeed get my chronology wrong, or specifically the bit I inserted today in a bit of a rush. The correct chronology indicts the SWP much more powerfully than my version. The SWP could have made a wholly innocent mistake in inviting Atzmon to speak at Marxism 04 - I can't recall when he first started publishing his antisemitic rubbish, maybe he hadn't by then. But at least 2 SWP members (Seymour and the Dead Man Left guy) were savvy enough to see he was a crackpot antisemite, and to publish (electronically) to that effect. So far, fine. (Also the June 2004 SR article is covered by that "fine".)

Then, as has been noted, again and again, the SWP continued to praise him, host him and promote him. Possibly Lenin and Dead Man were just insignificant individual rank and file members them; no reason the SWP should change its policy coz two smart young members can recognise antisemitism. But this completely undermines Skid's deployment (here and in the last time we had the same argument) of the two posts as evidence of the SWP not tolerating him. On the contrary, it shows they promoted him even though at least some of them had seen through him.

That continued through 04, 05 and 06 and that was when Labournet, Rosen, Greenstein and co started to call them on it. And still they continued to promote him and host him through 07, 08, 09 and even into (less heavily) into 2010. Then: silence.

--

Hickey/Garaudy: what was the event at Sussex where Hickey had Ismail Patel's Garaudy's promoting powerpoint behind him? Was he sharing a platform with Patel? Who invited them?

Patel is a voice of the right-wing pro-Hamas organisations Friends of Al-Aqsa and British Muslim Initiative. Patel's website has published Atzmon, as well as Atzmon's buddy Israel Shamir. Hopefully this is not an SWP event the pic is from!

bob said...

Correction: "started to call him on it" was not what I meant. Not sure what I was trying to say. Greenstein, Sue Blackwell, Moshe Machover and others had been objecting since at least spring 05 when Atzmon was announced to be doing Marxism 05. However, by end of 06 even close allies of theirs, like Rosen, had raised their voices and they had really no excuses left. But they kept on going. Why?

bob said...

Gosh, just checked my first ever post mentioning Atzmon. It was May 05 http://brockley.blogspot.com/2005/05/defeating-boycott.html (I started blogging Jan 05) and it links to the Lenny and Dead Man posts Skid keeps mentioning.

For the record - and not many people know this, as Michael Caine would[n't] say - both Lenin's Tomb and Dead Man Left were on my blogroll for quite a while in 2005, as was Melanie Phillips and Frontpage. There weren't enough blogs to be picky back then!!

bob said...

Been going through my archive. I notice that in March 07, the Scottish PSC, pretty hardcore anti-Zionists, publicly disowned Atzmon in the wake of Rosen's letter - if even they could see it, why couldn't the SWP?

ModernityBlog said...

Counterpunch defending Atzmon in 2005

http://www.counterpunch.org/atzmon06172005.html

Waterloo Sunset said...

@ Mod

Indeed Bob, it is possible to find Atzmon stuff on SW, if you hunt around a bit, not that most of the "anti-Zionists" here would even TRY...

To be fair, on the Atzmon issue, I think both Levi and (especially) Tony Greenstein were both sound. Tony probably did more to expose him than any other individual.

bob said...

Mod, I have to say WS is right on that. Last night I went back through my archive and notice that the first criticism of Atzmon I cite is Sue Blackwell (May 05). This was the time of the AUT Israel boycott fight, when Blackwell was one of my enemies. I wrote: "Harry's Place reports that Sue Blackwell has turned against Gilad Atzmon, who is still due to speak at the SWP's Marxism 2005 event, despite the criticism of SWP bloggers like Lenin and Dead Men Left." In June, I wrote: "More suprising is that hardcore anti-Zionists like Sue Blackwell and Tony Greenstein would orchestrate a campaign against [Atzmon's] presence." Tony left a long and interesting comment when I wrote this. http://brockley.blogspot.com/2005/06/gilad-atzmon-swp-and-holocaust-denial.html

Tony and his comrades picketed the SWP that month. See http://brockley.blogspot.com/2005/06/gilad-atzmon-tony-greenstein-swp-and.html I wrote: "Tony Greenstein, of Jews against Zionism, has been called a 'political crank' by Oliver Kamm, writing at Harry's (scroll down the comments). Greenstein has posted a comment here on brockley.blogspot. I can't comment on whether he is a crank or not but, for the record, I do believe that Greenstein has a long-standing ecord as a genuine anti-racist and anti-fascist. I think Sue Blackwell, another member of the Jews Against Zionism (JaZ) posse, acted honourably in removing Atzmon from her links page. I believe that Jews Against Zionism should be applauded for taking a stand on this issue. And I should add that I am glad that pro-boycott activist Hilary Rose (another Marxism 2005 speaker I think) came out in favour of the picket.

I also want to make it clear that when I used the phrase 'harcore anti-Zionists' about them in my previous post, I did not want to suggest that there is anything necessarily anti-semitic about hardcore anti-Zionism. I think there is a small but significant gap between the JaZ position and the Atzmon/Paul Eisen/Israel Shamir position. Perhaps because the gap is very small, they need to work hard to maintain the line - hence the picket."

I am not sure if that criticism is fair or not (again, Tony wrote a comment defending their position, worth reading), but it is certainly the case that Tony and his colleagues have worked a lot harder on this, including getting out and picketing, than Harry and co.

skidmarx said...

Does skidmarx know about all this stuff?
Not really in detail. It's interesting to hear your perspective.

ModernityBlog said...

"To be fair, on the Atzmon issue, I think both Levi and (especially) Tony Greenstein were both sound. "

WS, in fairness being able to spot Atzmon's racism is not exactly hard and you would hope that as a minimum that's what they could do.

For example, in the same way that you might reasonably expect an anarchist to know what a black flag is, then Elf and Co's opposition to Atzmon, whilst commendable in the current political climate, is really nothing to write home about.

But what I really meant they were lazy and not competent, they want to be spoonfed and can't really research issues for themselves, which are outside of their pet hatreds.

All this is well-documented and why Elf would seek to exculpate them (as his comment on "consistency" suggests) I can't say.

But they have access to Google so can refresh their memories, as to why the SWP **overall** as an organisation, for years, kissed Atzmon's arse, then fell silent about his racism.

Levi9909 said...

Just for the record, this was my first post, that I can find anyway, that raises the issue of Atzmon's antisemitism. I don't use the word antisemitism but it's clear what I am saying. The post was June 2004. I was, however, happy to run an article of his in March 2004.

By June 2005 I was complaining of Atzmon fatique.

I have never tried to exculpate the SWP over its association with Atzmon. All I have said is that it has nothing to do with any inherent antisemitism on their part and nothing Moddy or anyone else has said so far demonstrates otherwise.

I was a co-blogger on Lenin's Tomb but left over the issue of the SWP's support for Atzmon. I think my hits went from over 500 to under 300 in a stroke but hey, a principle's a principle.

People who never liked the SWP anyway, or recovering SWPers are making out the SWP either doesn't recognise antisemitism or is antisemitic. Neither are true. I know Richard Seymour, China Mieville and Meaders (Dead Men Left) all tried to persuade the leadership to ditch him and that was what led to the SWP releasing their statement and Atzmon's denying any "racism" on the latter's part. I don't know what Michael Rosen did privately before finally writing to SW but they cannot plead ignorance with or without factoring Rosen's advice in.

I think what began as opportunism over a celebrity ended up digging them ever deeper into the same hole.

Moddy points to Counterpunch defending and promoting Atzmon. They defend and promote a lot of antisemitism and conspiracism whilst happily posting articles by Uri Avnery but none responding to the antisemitism. In Atzmon's case, the SWP made it much easier for CP et al to do these things but they predate the SWP's involvement with Atzmon.

Bob's notion that there is not much between supporting a democratic secular state for Jews, Arabs and neither (ie the position of people like Tony Greenstein and me) together with the right of return for refugees on the one hand and claiming that the holocaust didn't happen, that Jews should renounce their Jewish identity and that Jews used to kill children to make matzot (and maybe still do) a la Eisen/Shamir/Atzmon on the other, is both ludicrous and self-serving. Also, neither Tony nor I support the idea that zionism or the State of Israel are somehow reflective of an inherent Jewish trait. Both of us see zionism as a colonial settler ally of imperialism. The aforementioned axis see Israel and western support for it as manifestations of Jewish power. I shouldn't speak for others but the reason we are anti-zionist is because we are anti-racist.

Opposing antisemitism is consistent with our anti-zionism. It is those "decents" who scream blue murder over antisemitism and yet are perfectly comfortable with Israel and all of its works who are being inconsistent. And they are the main cause of genuine skepticism among those who didn't and still don't know about Atzmon's antisemitism. Boy who cried wolf and all that...

skidmarx said...

Bob - shouldn't you still link to the Tomb? You were only supposed to blow Through The Scary Door off.

ModernityBlog said...

Two points:

1. I was correcting this fallacious statement by Elf:

"Lenin clearly didn't like Atzmon back in 2004 and that was the SWP's consistent position until somebody decided to invite him to Bookmarx and Marxism 2005. "

This as far as I can read it suggests that there was a change in the SWP position from 2004 to 2005.

There is no substantive evidence to back up Elf’s claim that there was a change in the SWP position, quite the reverse, aside from a few odd members, the SWP for years from 2004 onwards consistently kissed Atzmon's arse.

The Socialist Worker published an early article of his “ 'Zionism is my enemy'|5Jun04|Socialist Worker, Jun 5, 2004 .”

Yes, that’s right in 2004

Again, there’s NO change between the overall SWP attitude from 2004 and 2005, that’s what the evidence points to.

2. From Elf's post, linked above:

http://jewssansfrontieres.blogspot.com/2004/06/self-righteous-moi.html

"Self-righteous? Moi?
NOT IN MY NAME - An analysis of Jewish righteousness - Gilad Atzmon

Gilad Atzmon worries me with his reasoning sometimes. He rails against secularist Jews on the grounds that there is no reason to "identify" with being Jewish unless you practice Judaism. Curiously he has time for Neturei Karta as they are anti-Zionist religious. Jews. Has he asked them where they stand on women's rights? gay rights? etc. At one point he accuses secularist Jews of dishonesty and yet many of us would feel wilfully dishonest if we were to deny being Jewish. I share his scepticism about the motives of many "not-in-my-name" types but many of us simply use the Jewishness with which we genuinely identify, not to validate our own positions but to invalidate. Zionist claims. Both Atzmon and the Zionists argue that you cannot have a Jewish identity without a Jewish state or a Jewish religion."


I can not see any meaningful criticism of Atzmon's racism in that post, and it should be noted that Elf is never shy expressing in his views or criticising people.

Levi9909 said...

He rails against secularist Jews on the grounds that there is no reason to "identify" with being Jewish unless you practice Judaism.

That's a criticism of his racism. He is setting terms by which Jews are allowed to identify as such.

Again, there’s NO change between the overall SWP attitude from 2004 and 2005, that’s what the evidence points to.


Yes there is. 2004 was the first time Atzmon's racism was exposed. In 2005 the SWP carried on hosting him. That was a departure from their previously held position which was to denounce antisemitism including Atzmon's. When they hosted him in 2004 they were shocked by his antisemitism. In 2005 they had no such excuse.

Once again Moddy you are being either a liar or a fool.

I should have thought an important point here would be to get skidmarx to look into these things and for him to seek answers from other SWPers on this stuff. All your doing is cluttering the thread.

skidmarx said...

Levi9909 - get skidmarx to look into these things and for him to seek answers from other SWPers
Actually the next word after embittered in this comment has been true since 1994 [I've tried gently pointing this out before, though there's still a schadenfreude to be obtained from foolishness like this]. Which helps to explain why I knew nothing about Atzmon.
This might be interesting. And yes, that's not one of my comments linked to.
I think Moddy's dilemma at this point is that he wants to harangue and ignore me simultaneously, so he ends up haranguing you instead.

ModernityBlog said...

"When they hosted him in 2004 they were shocked by his antisemitism."

Where is the documented evidence that the SWP, as an organisation were shocked?

I am sure that maybe one or 2 members might have been, but as the EVIDENCE shows the SWP as an organisation, never wavered in their support of Atzmon, from 2004.

This is what the evidence says.

I am sure that Elf and Co, see it differently, but their opinions are just that, opinions, they are not facts.

The facts shown an unstinting support for Atzmon from 2004 onwards and then silence from the SWP, overall.

Levi9909 said...

and many of your "facts", moddy, are falsehoods and your opinions are impenetrable and anyway, you are effectively insisting on proof of a negative. you can't actually prove that an organisation is or was shocked.

So far the only detail anyone has come up with on what anyone from the SWP had to say about something specific that Atzmon actually said has been opposed, indeed disgusted at what he actually said and the same person reported the disgust of others from the same event. That would be consistent with the SWP's oft-stated position on antisemitism (see below).

Now, I have never argued that the SWP have not supported Atzmon. My point is that they have lied to cover for him. You are claiming that the SWP's support for Atzmon is bound up with their antisemitism and yet you have shown no evidence of their antisemitism in terms of any quotes or in terms of them saying that they agree with this, that or the other that Atzmon has actually said except, of course, to support his denial of being "racist".

You want to use this as part of a red-baiting exercise. I want to shine a light on the SWP's sheer lack of principle over the whole Atzmon saga.

In the past the SWP has been so precious about antisemitism they have criticised Finkelstein in ways that almost amount to accusing him of antisemitism, they denounced Mearsheimer and Walt for a "sordid conspiracy theory" and they refused to support the showing of Perdition during Holocaust Memorial Week. There are many more examples of the SWP opposing antisemitism in detailed terms. There are none of the SWP supporting antisemitism in detail or in summary.

I must say that this is typical of you mod. You think finding links on the internet is a substitute for reasoned argument. I am saying, find the SWP's analysis of anything they say is wrong with society or any action they propose that amounts to antisemitism. All I'm seeing is a load of guilt by association stuff...

ModernityBlog said...

I made this point earlier on, but I would naturally assume that Elf didn't read it.

All of the arguments that I've been putting forward are verifiable, that is, there is evidence to support those arguments.

The evidence comes not from me, but from the SWP’s website, which shows that in June 2004 they were exceedingly supportive of Atzmon's ideas, and this continued into 2005 onwards.

I would welcome contrary evidence, but it hasn't been put forward.

Instead we've heard an assertion, an opinion, not facts, from Elf.

Elf contended that there was a change in the SWP's attitude between 2004 and 2005, but the evidence simply doesn't substantiate it.

Quite the opposite, from 2004 onwards the SWP were supportive of Atzmon, that's what the facts prove.

People may not like those facts, but that doesn't change their veracity.

Levi9909 said...

Moddy, the repetition doesn't help your case.

We all know the SWP supported Atzmon. That is not in doubt. What you have been making out is that they have supported what he actually says or "his ideas". I am saying that they supported him by ignoring or denying what he actually says and that they have broken their own long-held principles to do so.

I have offered three examples of where the SWP has shown itself to be particularly sensitive in its opposition to antisemitism, viz, the cases of Finkelstein, the Israel lobby thesis and Perdition during HMW. These are specific positions, the first two of which appeared in SW and the last of which came from the leadership and had a new, now ex-member of the SWP eating her words about how excited she was that Perdition was to be performed in Scotland during HMW. Are you saying that these cases didn't happen? Are you asking for links to those?

All you have said is that the SWP supported Atzmon and we both know that and we both know that we both know that. You are saying it is because they either don't know antisemitism when they see it and even when it is drawn to their attention or that they are antisemitic. What I would like to see from you, instead of yet another assertion in bold that they supported Atzmon (which we both know), is proof that they support specific antisemitic things that Atzmon has said (or "his ideas").

BTW, because you are bound to bring it up again, the change from 2004 to 2005 is because Atzmon had not started promoting his antisemitic position, as far as anyone knew, until Marxism 2004 or too soon before for many people to realise it. It was only when they booked him for Bookmarx and Marxism 2005 that people started getting in their faces with the specifics of what he had actually written and then he doctored a few of his posts to make them look like he hadn't said what he truly had said.

No one in the SWP said, "yes but we really do have to take the idea that Jews are trying to take over the world very seriously". Instead, they went into a ludicrous form of denial which was both dishonest and extremely damaging for the Palestine solidarity movement and, by extension, for the Palestinians. Meaders even said at the time that he feared the damage would be permanent and, to the SWP, I think it possibly has been.

But it is still the case, that you cannot (or you would have by now) produce one quote from the SWP that suggests that any of their members support Atzmon's worldview in any detail.

Skidders - I have seen your comment that hasn't made it through and I appreciate the Splintered Sunrise comment. I might even blog it.

With regard to Tony Greenstein leading the charge against the SWP over Atzmon, one of the initial problems was that Tony had a lot of form for trying to embarrass the SWP. I'm not saying he was wrong to do that but it meant that many party faithfuls just didn't believe what he was saying. John Rose, Martin Smith and Lyndsey German didn't have that excuse but many rank and filers did. Also, there was the problem of the false allegation of antisemitism leveled at the SWP since way back when in connection solely with their anti-zionism.

So, Mod, carry on the red-baiting repetition of "the SWP supported Atzmon" but unless you have some specific details beyond what has already been said, I think we're done here.

ModernityBlog said...

Four points:

1. Repetition is required here because Elf doesn't get points unless you repeat them, and even then he still misreads and can't understand the basics.

2. I haven't argued here **why** the SWP hosted, supported and defended Atzmon for over four years, I am content initially to establish the basic facts.

Again, I haven’t, as Elf invents, said in my view as to why the SWP supported Atzmon, rather tried to ascertain the overall chronology.

3. But let us refresh our memory of the SWP supporting Atzmon, from June 2004

http://www.socialistworker.co.uk/art.php?id=809

"Issue: 1904 dated: 5 June 2004 Reviews

Gilad Atzmon: 'Zionism is my enemy'

Acclaimed jazz musician Gilad Atzmon will be speaking and performing at Marxism 2004. He talked to Nick Grant

Gilad Atzmon wanders on stage in Brighton tugging on a customary cigarette. "Smoking kills," he announces. "But Blair kills more." On clarinet or saxophone, Gilad is now among the top UK-resident jazz musicians, winning awards and plaudits from all corners. Last year his Exile album won both the Radio 3 and Time Out awards for jazz album of the year.

But Gilad's fearless tirades against Zionism — the ideology behind the Israeli state — have cost him in terms of lost gigs and constant vigilance about personal security.

...

As to the future of Palestine, Gilad has no doubts over the way forward. "Only one way round this problematic issue. One-state solution," he says. "In other words, full equality and a conclusive right of return for the Palestinian people."

Gilad Atzmon will speak and perform on Tuesday 13 July at the Marxism 2004 festival and conference in London. You can find out more about his life and work at his website, www.gilad.co.uk.

© Socialist Worker (unless otherwise stated). You may republish if you include an active link to the original."


4. It is apparent that Elf confuses the dates, slipping a year. Atzmon attended Marxism 2004.

Yes, 2004, NOT 2005.

ModernityBlog said...

This is the link to the June **2004** SW article:


http://www.socialistworker.co.uk/art.php?id=809

Levi9909 said...

Mod - I'm all out of words to describe your stupidness, your pettiness and your dishonesty.

You now claim that you are simply saying that the SWP supported Atzmon but not on account of his ideas or on account of antisemitism on the SWP's part.

But here is what you said in your post of 23 March, 2011 12:06:

The evidence comes not from me, but from the SWP’s website, which shows that in June 2004 they were exceedingly supportive of Atzmon's ideas, and this continued into 2005 onwards.

Now Mod, you know that I know that the SWP as a group supported Atzmon but it was and is my contention that that was in spite of his ideas. You were clearly saying that his ideas were the reason they supported him.

Also, I didn't get the year wrong. Marxism 2004 was the year that Atzmon attended and, according to Lenin and Meaders, disgusted those there with his antisemitism. Prior to that, his antisemitism wasn't widely known and so your quote from SW June 04 is irrelevant. In spite of his antisemitism coming out at Marxism 2004, and in breach of their own opposition to antisemitism, the SWP hosted Atzmon for a talk at Bookmarx and at Marxism 2005.

Having looked back over the thread that you have now cluttered for nothing, I see that you misunderstood what I was saying about the SWP changing their position from 2004 to 2005. Bookmarx which took place in 2005 was the first time that the SWP covered up the antisemitism of an invited guest of theirs. There is no evidence that they have ever done that before. But when it came to Bookmarx in 2005 and for Marxism 2005 (which Atzmon also attended) they started simply supporting him without any reference to specific ideas on Atzmon's part. That is the complete opposite of what you said in the section I have quoted here.

Honestly mod, you owe the thread an apology. Just apologise and move on. You're wasting a lot of time here.

ModernityBlog said...

Elf's latest contribution aply illustrates the point I made to Waterloo Sunset earlier.

Elf obviously hasn't consulted Google or the Socialist worker website, if he had, then he would see numerous articles from 2004 on Atzmon.

There are some 148 references over the years to Atzmon, and I would assume (I will be corrected by anyone who is intellectually competent) that the reason the SWP pushed him was that they agreed with his ideas.

If this isn't the case, then there is no evidence to prove this, on an organisational basis.

Apart from apparently 3-4 members and one supporter, there seems little, if any, evidence on the Web showing that there was any significant opposition to Atzmon's ideas within the SWP.

If this were a one-off, you might not find it, but the SWP hosted, promoted and defended Atzmon for four years.

FOUR years.

And in all that time, apart from Rosen's critical letter which was stamped upon, no member saw fit to question the policy of supporting Atzmon in the SWP's internal bulletin, etc

No SWP member wrote a critical post in any forum, that we can see.

Nothing was raised at the SWP's conference, as far as we tell.

etc etc

You might reasonably expect to find such evidence of opposition to Atzmon on the Web, if it had been significant

Even retrospectively, aside from the odd minor critical post no member had the courage to ask WHY the SWP hosted Atzmon.

If there is any SWP member that would care to share his/her insights as to why the SWP chose to host, promote and defend Atzmon, the racist, then I'd welcome their contribution.

Unless SWP members contribute we are left to speculate on the reasons, which is naturally unsatisfactory, it would be helpful if any "radical" SWP member could go against his/her leadership and explain why it all happened.

I am not particularly interested in Elf’s obfuscation, but it would be good to hear from SWP members on WHY, and how much genuine opposition there was to hosting Atzmon.

Of course, if anyone has any serious evidence please do provide links, etc :)

ModernityBlog said...

Readers might like to refresh their memories with reference to the SWP pushing of Atzmon here.

http://www.swappeal.org.uk/events/gilad.html

goodwin sands said...

There is a difference between being an anti-Semite and promoting one. However, they're both odious.

Atzmon hasn't come out and said that the gas chambers of Auschwitz were a figment of the Jewish imagination, but he was happy to pass along Paul Eisen's essay claiming exactly that. Atzmon is happy to exploit Holocaust denial for his political purposes. So both Atzmon and Eisen are on the high-odious side of the scale, although for different reasons.

Similarly, the SWP didn't embrace all of Atzmon's babbling rants about how the essence of Jewishness was inherently a destructive force. But neither did they do the right thing, which was to give Atzmon the necessary and unambiguous boot up the arse in 2005, as soon as the anti-Semitic babbling started, rather than distancing themselves far too quietly and far too slowly. They were quite willing to have Atzmon back at their microphones at their fundraisers and at Marxism long after the rest of us had seen through him.

The SWP may not have been driven by actual antisemitism, the way Atzmon's rants are and continue to be, but certainly the decision to turn a blind eye - to exploit his antisemitism the way Atzmon exploited Eisen's - was infuriatingly immoral, as is the utter lack of a specific repudiation of Atzmon by his former defenders, the SWP.

A man who saves three burning orphanages and then sets fire to a fourth would probably say, "ah, but let's look at the majority of cases." Those turned out of the fourth orphanage are not likely to be persuaded.

Having said that, although the SWP did themselves some damage on the anti-Semitism issue when they entangled themselves with Atzmon, the lads at Indymedia weren't satisfied until they'd sawn their own heads off, one of the reasons there's now an Indymedia-wide revolt against the cotton-brained 'freethepeeps' and his gang.

Levi9909 said...

Almost exactly my point Goodman but you've glossed over the indymedia business. Atzmon actually posted an article to IMUK not denying the holocaust but justifying it saying that Israelis have failed to learn what made Jews so unpopular in Europe in the 1930s. Tony Greenstein tried to have the piece removed and IM refused. He then tried to respond but his piece was removed whilst a comment describing George Galloway as a "paki lover" was allowed to remain. Tony emailed a protest and copied several people in and freethepeeps wrote to all the ccs, he claimed privately, accusing us effectively of a Jewish conspiracy against IM. I was drunk when I got the email and wrote back calling him a wanker and a few other things and pointing out how stupid he had been in assuming that people who had been copied an email were party to its content. I asked if when he gets emails promoting viagra does he assume that the other recipients are responsible? He accused me of a zionist ploy on that last point! And with Atzmon's help he got my email posted on several sites and started a site of his own simply to denounce those who were condemning Atzmon. Maybe Counterpunch ran a piece by him, I don't know.

But, as I think you are saying, it was the SWP's sheer dishonesty/immorality over Atzmon that led to Atzmon's growing presence on line because people assumed, without any checking, that if the SWP are saying he's kosher, then he's kosher.

Very damaging indeed and all the more ludicrous and time wasting given that the SWP does not support his ideas (contrary to Moddy's contention) and never subjected them to any of the analysis you would usually expect from the SWP over a matter such as this.

Mod - your latest comment doesn't look like an apology for your sheer dishonesty here to me. It looks like you are merely repeating that they supported/promoted him, in your latest link, simply as a musician. We all know that, as has been said many times. You said there is evidence "which shows that in June 2004 they were exceedingly supportive of Atzmon's ideas, and this continued into 2005 onwards.". An advert for a talk about jazz or a concert is not evidence of the SWP being "exceedingly supportive of Atzmon's ideas". If you have no such evidence then butt out. Or apologise rather than simply digging deeper and cluttering the thread.

Between Bob and me and now Goodman, the whole shebang of what happened between Atzmon and the SWP has been set out here. You have added nothing except a bogus allegation against the SWP that simply muddies (or moddys) the waters and gives the SWP the same get-out that false allegations of antisemitism gave them in the first place. Boy who cried wolf and all that....

Levi9909 said...

Moddy - you have said that the SWP were "exceedingly supportive of Atzmon's ideas". You have then made out you did no such thing and now you have posted a link to Martin Smith praising Atzmon's music. Really mod, a simple apology for misleading the thread would suffice.

Goodwin Sands - your point is almost the same as mine and I certainly agree with what you are saying. I well recall the Indymedia business. Atzmon posted an article to IM not denying the holocaust but justifying it. Tony Greenstein asked them to remove it. They wouldn't remove it, apparently because of this Roy Bard/free the peeps/FTP character. They then wouldn't allow Tony to even respond though they did find space to for someone to call Galloway a "paki-lover". Here's some stuff I wrote about Indymedia back in 2007.

Mod - please stop cluttering the thread now. We know the SWP has praised Atzmon's music, that's their main excuse for hosting him and we know they have denied his antisemitism/racism. If you can't find anything to support your earlier contention that they supported his ideas then there is nothing more for you to say.

Thanks.

Levi9909 said...

Goodwin Sands -

Sorry to revisit this but I think it is very important to nail down why it was that the SWP supported Atzmon against advice and demands from many people including members, supporters and long-standing associates of theirs. That isn't to say that I know why it was but I do know why it wasn't. It wasn't antisemitism.

If an agreement with Atzmon's ideas (that is, his antisemitism or the SWP's) was the motivating factor, this would implicate all SWP members, their supporters and possibly those who work with them on Palestine and other issues.

It would also imply that the SWP have either an antisemitic analysis as to what is wrong with the world or an antisemitic programme as to how to put it right. That would be entirely misleading. But, clearly there are people in the SWP who prefer the party to the strict application of the principles that made them join the party in the first place.

The SWP now appears to have deleted its statement defending the decision to host Atzmon at Marxism 2005 (he had already made an antisemitic speech at Marxism 2004) from their website but it is cached here. If they have indeed deleted it from the website but kept other supportive noises about Atzmon in place, then I think the leadership is trying to distance itself from some appalling decisions and dishonesty and trying to attribute their flaws to those further down the food chain.

All profoundly shameful, opportunistic, authoritarian, dishonest, not to mention downright sad but not antisemitic.

skidmarx said...

Levi 9909- if you enjoyed that, there is more on the same thread, and also this.

ModernityBlog said...

Bob,

See what I mean?

Elf doesn't like being shown to be the ignoramus that he is, so he tries to close down discussions.

Elf sees meanings in words that don't exist. He tries to put words in the mouth of others, as the clown that he is.

If you took someone, anyone, gave them a platform to espouse their views and did it consistently for four years then presumably you must find some of those ideas agreeable?

I’d welcome an alternative suggestion.

But coming back to my previous point, since 2007 and Rosen's letter there seems to be no critical comment on Atzmon by *any* SWPer in any meaningful way.

That's it, we are told that the SWP disagreed with Atzmon (maybe they did), but there is no evidence to show that.

There's nothing on the Web, that's seven years on from when they started pushing him.

Seven years of nonexistent antiracism form the SWP, in fact, quite the opposite you can find them publicising one of his events even recently, October 2010:

"TUESDAY 12th OCTOBER 2010
Nizar Al-Issa
Sarah Gillepsie Quartet
The Unthanks Sisters.
Wyatt/Atzmon/Stephen Album launch ‘For The Ghosts Within’ with the Orient House Ensemble,
Sigamos Strings & Cleveland Watkiss – vocals.

WEDNESDAY 13th OCTOBER 2010
hathayah (Ramallah Underground)
Rory McCloud
Wyatt/Atzmon/Stephen Album launch ‘For The Ghosts Within’ with the Orient House Ensemble,
Sigamos Strings & Cleveland Watkiss – vocals.
*The Jazza All-Stars* featuring Peter King, Seb Rochford, Alex Garnett, Oren Marshall & Gilad Atzmo

http://www.swp.org.uk/events/12/10/2010/jazza-festival-2010

Book here"


Of course, not that Elf would know this, as he can barely use Google, let alone find the SWP's web site!

Elf should keep his authoritarian rantings to his own blog, it gets very boring leading him around these obvious points, Elf won’t admit anything or acknowledge his own stupidity.

modernity said...

{ops, other stuck in the queue].

Bob,

See what I mean?

Elf doesn't like being shown to be the ignoramus that he is, so he tries to close down discussion.

Elf sees meanings in words that don't exist. He tries to put words in the mouth of others, as the knave that he is.

If you took someone, anyone, gave them a platform to espouse their views and did it consistently for four years then presumably you must find some of those ideas agreeable?

I’d welcome an alternative suggestion.

But coming back to my previous point, since 2007 and Rosen's letter there seems to be no critical comment on Atzmon by *any* SWPer in any meaningful way.

That's it, we are told that the SWP disagreed with Atzmon (maybe they did), but there is no evidence to show that.

There's nothing on the Web, that's seven years on from when they started pushing him.

Seven years of non-existent antiracism form the SWP, in fact, quite the opposite you can find them publicising one of his events even recently, October 2010:

"TUESDAY 12th OCTOBER 2010
Nizar Al-Issa
Sarah Gillepsie Quartet
The Unthanks Sisters.
Wyatt/Atzmon/Stephen Album launch ‘For The Ghosts Within’ with the Orient House Ensemble,
Sigamos Strings & Cleveland Watkiss – vocals.

WEDNESDAY 13th OCTOBER 2010
hathayah (Ramallah Underground)
Rory McCloud
Wyatt/Atzmon/Stephen Album launch ‘For The Ghosts Within’ with the Orient House Ensemble,
Sigamos Strings & Cleveland Watkiss – vocals.
*The Jazza All-Stars* featuring Peter King, Seb Rochford, Alex Garnett, Oren Marshall & Gilad Atzmo

Book here"


Of course, not that Elf would know this, as he can barely use Google, let alone find the SWP's web site!

Elf should keep his authoritarian rantings to his own blog, it gets very boring leading him around these obvious points, Elf won’t admit anything or acknowledge his own stupidity.

modernity said...

http://www.swp.org.uk/events/12/10/2010/jazza-festival-2010

October 2010.

goodwin sands said...

I understand the distinction, but at the same time it's worth noting that that 'we aren't anti-Semitic, although we allow our political calculations to permit us to ignore anti-Semitism in those we promote' is likely to be cold comfort amongst Jews.

I don't take it as a rank-and-file condemnation of SWP as suffused with anti-Semitism, but Martin Smith in particular has something significant to answer for morally. Although I doubt he ever shall.

Re the lamentable Roy Bard - you may not know that Indymedia in the UK is now undergoing a major reorganization. The proposed resolution is apparently entirely about reducing the power of Bard's collective and their first-among-equals don't-you-forget-your-place-mate attitude. That attitude was first displayed full-grown during the Atzmon donnybrook, when quite a few IMC types expressed aghast disgust at the decision to give Atzmon a platform, only to find themselves denounced as "zionists" by Bard. (This puts them in the same category as Elf, Greenstein, and Rance - also "crypto-Zionists" in Bard's eyes.)

Bard's problem is that he is unshakably an acolyte of Israel Shamir. Bard encountered Shamir in the West Bank when he was young and naïve and even now believes him to be an innocent shining soul done in by Zionist smears. And if Shamir calls Atzmon a crusader for justice, then Bard simply doesn't have the mental equipment necessary to consider any other possibility, no matter how many other Indymedia workers he must shout down to maintain his illusion.

Waterloo Sunset said...

Re the lamentable Roy Bard - you may not know that Indymedia in the UK is now undergoing a major reorganization. The proposed resolution is apparently entirely about reducing the power of Bard's collective and their first-among-equals don't-you-forget-your-place-mate attitude.

Sadly, I think it may be too late to save Indymedia from the Bardites. It's now a haven for troofers and the Tony Goslings of this world.

It's noticable that most of the class struggle anarchists abandoned it as a lost cause ages ago. As did the militant antifascists (at least of some of which is likely to be linked to the fact that the latter really didn't get on at all well with Bard).

Michael Rosen said...

A really interesting thread. However, one element is missing: anyone reporting a face-to-face conversation with someone from the SWP Central Committee. Hmmm... I've found it useful in many different parts of my life, to shelve speculation in favour of direct face-to-face contact. It doesn't therefore follow that you have to take everything at 'face' value(!) but it usually informs a person. To be fair to Michael Ezra, it is something that he does and what he reports is usually much the better for it - even if I find that I disagree with his overall outlook.

goodwin sands said...

I can well understand why a committed antifascist would have difficulty getting along with ftp, for whom 'anti-Semitism' always translated to 'you are an undercover zionist, trying to change the subject by flinging false accusations in order to please your paymasters in Tel Aviv'.

bob said...

A warm welcome to Michael Rosen.

On Elf v Mod, let's call it a day shall we? And please, less of the personal insults.

I think the question that Mod asks that remains outstanding is WHY the SWP tolerated Atzmon for so long. Unlike Michael R, I don't really have access to any SWP central committee members, and doubt they'd be particularly enthusiastic to talk to me if I asked them.

Michael, what is your explanation? Was it just refusal to acknowledge an error? Was it antisemitism?

On the whole Atzmon/Indymedia thing, see http://geniza.wordpress.com/2011/03/18/looking-back-three-years-later/

modernity said...

Bob,

I am most happy to conclude this piece by reiterating the points:

1. The SWP pushed, hosted and defended Atzmon for years and years, from 2004 onwards

2. They then fell silent.

3. As far as we can tell (apart from Rosen's letter and a few comments on Seymour's blog, etc), there has been no significant internal criticism of the SWP's cuddling up to Atzmon.

4. There is no evidence to show any SWPer in 7+ years openly and highly critically taking on the SWP leadership over Atzmon's racism.

5. Why the SWP chose to host Atzmon is still largely a mystery, we can all speculate, but until SWP members or ex members contribute we are left doing just that, speculating.

6. The evidence suggests that the SWP have learnt NO political lessons from the debacle.

bob said...

Only just noticed Tony Greenstein's recent post on Atzmon: http://azvsas.blogspot.com/2011/03/guide-to-sayings-of-gilad-atzmon-anti.html

Levi9909 said...

Moddy, I don't try to close discussion down. You have cluttered and filibustered a useful thread and you are contradicting yourself wildly from comment to comment.

Here's you
The evidence comes not from me, but from the SWP’s website, which shows that in June 2004 they were exceedingly supportive of Atzmon's ideas, and this continued into 2005 onwards.

I challenge you for evidence of the SWP actually hosting Atzmon because they support "Atzmon's ideas" and you say:

I haven't argued here **why** the SWP hosted, supported and defended Atzmon for over four years, I am content initially to establish the basic facts.

But apart from a few minor details as to dates, the facts have never been in dispute. You were clearly, initially saying what you have now returned to saying and that is that the SWP hosted Atzmon because they supported his views, ie because they are antisemitic.

You then, in support of your contention that they support "Atzmon's ideas", post a load of links to do with them hosting him to play or to speak about music but not to speak about politics.

As far as I know the only times he was invited to speak on politics were Marxism 2004 and Bookmarx in 2005. Even Marxism 2005 was a gig, not a speech.

None of which is to exculpate the SWP of their disgraceful dishonest conduct (including lying to their own members) but whereas I have provided examples of their opposition to antisemitism you have provided no evidence of their support for it.

But let's be clear Moddy, you have shown no evidence at all of any antisemitism on the part of the SWP and you have not shown one antisemitic comment of Atzmon's that anyone from the SWP has said they agree with.

Goodwin Sands - we are in complete agreement. Martin Smith and several significant others were fully aware of Atzmon's antisemitism when they hosted him for one talk on politics, at least one on music and for several gigs. They must have been fully aware of the lie in their statement that I linked earlier. And since Elf is me, I know that it was cold comfort to many Jews to know that the SWP was consorting with a vicious (and he is vicious) antisemite. Sadly, it was also a major result for those Jews and non-Jews who have been falsely conflating antisemitism and anti-zionism for years before the Atzmon/SWP debacle.

Re Bard - I had no idea that he was a Shamir acolyte. I thought he was just a berk. But I still feel that without the crying of wolf for so long by zionists over antisemitism it would be far easier for those of us who take a principled stand on all forms of racism to argue against.

skidders - since you are an ex-SWPer you might want to check out with some old contacts what their take on the whole business is/was. I am guessing for those who are still members, they will be at best evasive or they might say "he only played the sax". But see what you can do. Oh I read that ILR ta.

Michael Rosen - I don't even know who constitutes the Central Committee but when I tried to talk to John Rose all I got was a referral to the SWP's dumbarsed statement and when you wrote to SW you fared no better than me and possibly worse. So in the absence of honest responses from leading members of the SWP over how they plumbed the depths over Atzmon, all we are left with is speculation and a nasty taste in the mouth.

I still believe that ultimately it was just stupidity on their part together with the other issues I've already mentioned. I think they didn't know what they were doing when Tony Greenstein wrote to them about Bookmarx and rather than take instructions from TG they decided to dig in and, sadly, to keep on digging.

goodwin sands said...

The Geniza blog isn't quite right about the fate of the current IMUK site; it will still exist, but frozen as an archive. Neither the new aggregation site nor the new site for the 'Indymedia UK' collective - renamed 'Mayday' - will use the indymedia.org.uk URL. In other words, they are going from first-among-equals to actual equals. This is all discussed on their open mailing lists.

But because 'Mayday' isn't associated with a geographic area like the others, it's possible that it will simply drift into the least-among-equals aether over time. On the other hand, it might become Indymedia's special home for conspiracists, the Cloudcuckoo Collective, as trooferism seems to be one of the issues that prompted the 'fork'.

Re Tony Greenstein's catalog of Atzmonisms, it's good to have a single place to point to. But the raving first comment shows that to Atzmon's acolytes, any attack on Atzmon draws calls of being anti-Palestinian. To put it bluntly, that's ftp 'logic': screeching incoherently.

bob said...

Thanks for very useful contributions GS.

Mark/Mod, please enough of the flaming now. I don't want to be like Socialist Unity or Harry's Place. I'll stop rescuing things from the spam folder soon!

Levi9909 said...

Bob - I didn't see your comment or those that followed it when I posted mine but you seem to have missed that Moddy did clearly state that the "SWP were exceedingly supportive of Atzmon's ideas".

It was actually me who has been saying that we can only speculate but that the idea that antisemitism was the motivating factor can be discounted because the SWP has spoken out in detail many times against antisemitism and there is no source for them supporting Atzmon's ideas. Au contraire, they were and it seems still are in denial about them.

I understand, it would kill you and slaughter moddy for you to say you agree with me.

modernity said...

Bob,

What can we do, the evidence of the SWP support for Atzmon is littered across their website, yet Elf couldn't find it.

Some 148 entries at the last count.

But let us ponder the point that he raises.

Would a political organisation, any political organisation, push, promote and defend an individual unless they thought he/she's ideas were worth promoting?

When the Conservative Party pushs the ideas of Margaret Thatcher, they don’t do it because they disagreed with her, did they?

Clearly, there is some convergence of ideas here, precisely what I don't know.

I would suspect that the SWP and their allies won't want to analyse it too clearly lest it tells them something they don't want to hear: that they are weak, blind and complacent in the face of contemporary anti-Jewish racism.

But that's my speculation, it's not a fact, it's an opinion.

The facts are to be found on the SWP web site.

And even after 2008, as the links prove the SWP did not disown Atzmon, they still promoted him in a musical sense.

In March 2009, you could still hear him being recommended at Bookmarx

"Forward Groove

Chris Searle introduces his new book on jazz and the real world from Louis Armstrong to Gilad Atzmon. He will play a selection of his favourite jazz Thu 26 Mar, 6.30pm Bookmarks bookshop"

http://www.socialistworker.org.uk/art.php?id=17430 (part way down)

Maybe someone could ask Chris Searle if he thinks Atzmon is a racist? And if so, why promote him in a book?


There's plenty more of that.

Levi9909 said...

Moddy - you can keep repeating mantras but you definitely said that there was evidence of the SWP being "exceedingly supportive of Atzmon's ideas" all over their website. You have found evidence of their support for him, not his ideas.

BTW, Margaret Thatcher didn't play saxaphone. That was Bill Clinton.

ModernityBlog said...

Bob,

You are right, not much is served by trying to get common sense into Elf's cranium.

I just don't like the way he revises things, tries to make out there's only one way of seeing things (a common trait amongst authoritarians).

I don't like the way he fiddles dates but won't admit it.

And I certainly don't like the way he tries his pop psychology, but won't examine the SWP web pages.

It is your blog and you make the rules, if you wish to suffer Elf's distractions, his revisionism and his poor comprehension skills then that's up to you.

But I'll give it a rest, for the moment :)

Levi9909 said...

Moddy - what dates have I fiddled?

bob said...

Accidentally deleted a comment from spam. Sorry.

Levi9909 said...

Here's what I wrote:

oh sorry mod, i didn't see you needed a rest from all the hard work of looking for lots of evidence, none of which supported your main thesis, that the SWP was "exceedingly supportive of Atzmon's ideas"

When you've rested, tell me what dates I fiddled and how they were relevant.

Meantime perhaps you could stop filibustering and inventing issues in case Michael Rosen or skidmarx come up with something actually relevant.

This is funny, the word I have to type to post this comment is, dersh.. appropriate.

skidmarx said...

Levi9909 - maybe I will try asking someone that sometime, if there isn't anything more pressing to talk about.
I do wonder if political parties, like celebrities, often live in a culture of bullshit because if you admit a mistake it is still going to be quoted back at you for generations to come.I'd generally thought the SWP as free of that as it was possible to be. But where I came into this whole left internet thing was when the Respect split occurred and all sorts of people were willing to believe all sorts of shit about the SWP, and although I had the opposite reaction in some ways - when the claims by a couple of former SWP members who'd gone with Galloway that they were still as much members as the party as Galloway partisans turned out to hold less and less truth as time went by - the fact that such former members could think they were going to win people over with such chicanery suggested a culture inwith the SWP that wasn't in the prime of health.
There might be more to be said about how maintaining optimism of the will in the face of your 2000th Saturday paper sale may require some resistance to certain aspects of reality.

word verification:slantle - maybe it's just the angle I'm looking at it from.

ModernityBlog said...

Bob,

A final (hopefully) reflection, indirectly Elf has hit on the more important aspect, the Why of it all:

Why did the SWP support Atzmon for so long, and what were their underlying drivers?

It's a good question to ask SWPer and ex-SWPers.

Skidmarx inadvertently touches on how relatively unimportant this was seen by SWpers and ex-SWpers, during and after the break-up of Respect SWPers were prepared to sling any mud at each other, as a result of the break up.

Yet as we've seen there has been little significant criticism of the SWP leadership over the Atzmon debacle, and when you consider the vitriol expended over Respect's break-up you can only conclude that Atzmon's racism and its political consequences hasn't or didn't register with them.

Again, SWPers/ex-SWPer are perfectly capable of demonstrating their contempt for the leadership, when the issue is seen as significant by them, ie Respect’s breakup, but not when Atzmon’s racism is highlighted.

There is a disparity there, it would be good if an intelligent ex-SWPer/SWPer could address that particular issue.

Levi9909 said...

Skid - I appreciate that many people did not understand the issue around Atzmon and the SWP for a variety of reasons. Chief among the reasons for assuming that the SWP was acting in good faith and those of us accusing Atzmon of antisemitism were acting in bad faith was the persistent crying of wolf over antisemitism by zionists. Also, Tony Greenstein had form for embarrassing his former comrades in the SWP. It may even have been the fact that it was Tony who led the charge against the SWP that kept them supporting Atzmon, I really don't know. The picket of the Bookmarx event may have even driven the leadership further into supporting Atzmon. If so, bad tactics on Tony's part (and mine since I was there) but even worse strategy on the SWP's part since they gave grist to the zionists; mill and many of us will never trust them again.

I have suggested various reasons why the SWP might have embraced and continued to embrace Atzmon even though by summer 2005 they must have known of his antisemitism.

Moddy and other SWP opponents have suggested it's because the SWP were "exceedingly supportive of Atzmon's ideas" ie, the SWP is antisemitic but if anything, all the statements from the SWP about antisemitism before, during and after their time with Atzmon, suggest that they were too precious about it rather than cavalier or "exceedingly supportive".

Now having asserted that the SWP were "exceedingly supportive of Atzmon's ideas" Moddy asks Why did the SWP support Atzmon for so long, and what were their underlying drivers? but he must have known that that is what has been asked and speculated on since the whole issue arose on this thread.

First Moddy insisted the SWP supported Atzmon's ideas, then he said he did no such thing, then he tried the previous position again. At some point Bob jumped through a hoop to say he agreed with one of Moddy's positions and asked me and Mod to stop flaming each other. Mod excused his flaming by saying that I had "fiddled dates" and "revised facts" without saying what dates or facts I had fiddled or revised or explaining why my fiddling of dates or revising of facts hadn't featured in any of his flames before. And that's the trouble with trying to fight antisemitism alongside people for whom truth is completely irrelevant. Whenever you try, as in the case of Roy Bard, the antisemites can always haul up the bad faith allegations of antisemitism that are the stock-in-trade of Israel's apologists.

And now moddy wants to know what a lot of us want to know and some of us have been trying to discuss on this thread. What was the SWP playing at? If they are not antisemitic then why consort with someone who was bound to lose them more support than he would gain?

Stupidness is probably the best answer. Now, what was the question again?

skidmarx said...

AS Dr.House says, "Everybody does stupid things, it shouldn't cost them everything they want in life."

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