Anti-semitism and anti-Zionism in Scotland

The Scottish Palestine Solidarity Campaign, who have already managed to derail the Edinburgh International Film Festival, have invited Gilad Atzmon to play and talk at a public meeting.

Gilad Atzmon is brilliantly taken apart in this open letter from Jim Denham, concluding:
You are free, of course, to bait Israel and to spout your anti-semitic propaganda. The degenerate ex-Marxists of the SWP are free to promote you and your band (though why, exactly, they should allow you to speak on the politics of the Middle East, remains a mystery).

But, as a jazz-lover, I have to say that I hate your racism. Jazz is the music of integration, of humanity and equality. Your anti-semitism has no place in our music.
The Scottish PSC are out of step with even the most hardcore anti-Zionists from Jews sans Frontieres:
Atzmon is primarily an attention seeking buffoon who has invoked antisemitism to draw attention to himself.
Similarly, the anti-Zionist Jewish Socialist Group has written an open letter to Scottish PSC protesting their invite to Atzmon.

Meanwhile, SPSC publish articles that think Robert Fisk, of all people, is too pro-Israeli in his Lebanon coverage.

[Update: more from Judeosphere and from Jews sans Frontieres.]


Also in Scotland, last year we had Stirling University's student union motion to boycott Israel - a ban that extended to the Scottish Socialist Party, because it organised debates about Zionism. (This issue might have flared up again this year - post a comment if you know more about this.)

This year, we've got Strathclyde University students union voting on Thursday on a boycott motion which also goes so far as to apply no platform principles to some Zionists:
7. To refuse to provide a platform to organisations, groups, bands etc that have
supported, implied support or still actively support:
7.1 Israel’s campaign of genocide against the Palestinian people
7.2 Israel’s theft of land from the Palestinians and other countries in the region

And I've run out of energy to deal with the cancelling of Israeli Ambassador Zvi Heifetz's first visit to Scotland.

Israelis and those who even want to debate Zionism = not welcome in Scotland.
Those who consort with Holocaust deniers = welcome in Scotland.
Tell me I'm wrong.

Tags: , , israel, zionism, palestine, boycott, jews,


Anonymous said…
Hello Bob,

Thank you for linking.

Good article.

Anonymous said…
I don't want to excuse Israelis like Gilad, but I wonder if we should invite ourselves to understand them. So we know he is pissed off with the dissatorous direction of teh Israeli government. He becomes a supporter of the Palestinian cause. SO far so good. That is what Meretz, Shalom Ahshav, and Gush Shalom do. But then it goes further. People like him take on board some of the critique of Zionism and some of the critique of Jewish behaviour where and when it ever may have occurred. His inslular reading causes him to feel very low about the former myths. He racts with rejections. He then enters in discourse with non Jews who feel like him or even further have a hate for Jews per se.
He becomes the show Jews. The exceptional Jew that demonstrates that my hate of you is corrtect because you a Jew says so!
One key in this little passage is the word insular. Not having looked about much of what else is happening in the world Jews and Israel become the main issue on the agenda, just like they are for similar convenient ommissive thinking in the Arab anti Zionism or Socialist / Liberal Anti Zionism.

The critique forgets the affirmation of reality and self respect. The fact that Zionism with its blood stained faults, people expulsions and killings, as well as wars of defense and liberation, stands also within a context that starts with the Jews' own forced expulsion and one of the longest periods of oppression of any "one" people ("One" as it happens disconnected in many places but retrospectively becomes one long story) and the shoa. Millions of Jews are today living in Israel having made this tiny land, twice divided by the British before its independence) its home.

The saga of the Left denies the fact that the shoa, and the forced expulsions of Arab lands gave little choice to Jews but to accept that maybe going back to the ancestoral home land was a good options.

The left also denies the culpability of bad political and religious choices, of non Jews.

The vicous cycle that Israel is involved in and which causes the loss of lives on both sides is one that is not just caused by Israel. In fact anti-zionism and hate of Israel encourage the spiral likewise by giving intellectual feed and justification to the armed violent struggle and hate of Israel in much of the Arab and Persian speaking world.

We are left with the situation of wanting more justice and a Palestinian state, wanting to be able to critisize the state of Israel, but at the same time having to be clear that everyday just like Palestinians are oprresed and under threath from units of IDF, Israel and all its citizens are likewise under constant threat of those who desire its annihilation.

This is the true reality. And it is not as easy as ending the occupation, and all will fall in hand. Even a peace with Palestine and a sovereign Palestinian state, can not bring about a scenario where a shift towards the hatred of Jews and Israel will turn speedily, if ever. This position is a sad one, and one in which struggle remains unresolved. Much easier to take clear sides and deny all the relevant history, and focus on the present, whatever acts of blood spillings they may be, and on whose ever side.

Gilad is an example of the internalization of what people say about Jews and Israelis, mixed in with legitimate critique of the state's action, but to the exclusion of any other faults elsewhere.

Likewise there are people running around that feel that Muslims are to blame for all, and certain Muslims and Jews who believe that their interpretation of God is a license to act in egocentric ways and deny everyone elses claims to live...

To put in another way, the Western left wing ideologue is an ideological brother or sister of the religious extremist, and the Jewish or Arab nationalist. It is in their limited way of interpretation and often the absolutist way of wanting to resolve conflict they are united.
Anonymous said…
We are left with the situation of wanting more justice and a jewish state, wanting to be able to critisize anti-semitism, but at the same time having to be clear that everyday just like jews are opressed and under threath from islamofascists and others who want another Auschwitz..
Griselda said…
No doubt, the chap is totally fair.

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