“Zionists out of the peace movement”?

In case Rupert Read remains unconvinced by the previous post and the comments on it, here’s a piece at Contested Terrain – read it, and the antisemitic post to which it links, as a case of the active conflation of Zionists with Jews. This is common practice in contemporary antisemitism.

Note what a good cover anti-Zionism makes for antisemitism, and think about why it might be that many Jews may feel it necessary to oppose anti-Zionism.

Read also Steve Cohen, left anti-Zionist campaigner against left antisemitism, on former attempts to “de-Zionise” Britain and their effects on Jews, in his book (republished free online by Engage in 2005) ‘That’s Funny, You Don’t Look Antisemitic‘. If you read nothing else from it, see particularly Chapter 3, ‘The Left Returns to Zion‘. After a review of the relationship between antisemitism and what currently passes for anti-Zionism, it ends:

“For zionists to believe that such a state is no longer necessary, it is vital to attack that which necessitated it—namely anti-semitism. When confronted by the spectacle of an arsonist firing a person’s home, it is not morally justifiable for a passive observer to blame that person for jumping—even if s/he lands on a complete stranger. Certainly the stranger may be justifiably aggrieved—and with equal certainty cannot be expected to take responsibility for a fire they did not create. However, if no other homes are to be burned then the arsonist must be stopped. Moreover, isolated householders cannot be expected to do this unaided. As long as passers-by remain observers then the sorry saga will continue. The analogy with the triangle of the anti-semite, the Jew and the Palestinian is obvious. The onus for resisting anti-semitism cannot be on Jews alone. Wherever there is anti-semitism the socialist and labour movements have to oppose it. Unfortunately these movements have, all too often, been either passive or complicit.”

I think most people would agree that things are going the wrong way at the moment.

Update: I go to my inbox and receive this news from Karl Pfeifer, libelled as party to a massacre of Palestinians in the ’40s. There is no evidence, but “He is a Zionist”. This is the grim essence of prejudice and discrimination. Are we looking at a prelude?


11 thoughts on ““Zionists out of the peace movement”?

  1. Rupert Read

    Thanks, Mira; this is useful.
    Cohen is an impressive writer, and much of what he says in Chapter 3 of the book you cite is bang on the mark. I agree 100% with the particular quotation from Cohen that you have given above. Those of us who are anti-Zionists need to ensure that we are 100% serious and active in our anti-anti-semitism. Anti-semitism fuels the ‘rebound’ (among those oppressed by that anti-semitism) into Zionism. Unless we can extirpate or at least combat/reduce anti-semitism, it is fairly certain that Zionism will continue to have wide appeal. So there is a strong onus on all of us who are not Zionists to be committed anti-anti-semites.

  2. modernityblog

    Dr. Read,

    You will, no doubt, remember that many questions have been addressed to you on another Engage thread, http://engageonline.wordpress.com/2009/11/19/green-councillor-and-candidate-rupert-read-pushes-gilad-atzmon/

    I do hope that you will take the time and trouble to answer these questions in a piece on your blog, and perhaps reflect on your previously dubious statement of:

    “I think that the influence of ‘the Israel lobby’ in this country as in many others is nefarious.

    Dr. Read, you have a window of opportunity now to deal with these points, seriously, as you would as an academic, I would suggest that you take this chance and analyse your own conduct with a high degree of objectivity.

  3. Raphael

    I am glad to read what you wrote above and that you appreciate Cohen’s writing (this was no doubt a landmark book on left wing antisemitism). I hope you will think further and come back to the previous post addressing the points which have been made about Atzmon piece.
    Best wishes

  4. Mira Vogel Post author

    “So there is a strong onus on all of us who are not Zionists to be committed anti-anti-semites.”

    Our preoccupations on this blog include:

    Green Politicians’ platform-sharing with campaigners who have antisemitic views, without opposing those views.

    Antisemitism in Stop the War and the Palestine Solidarity Campaign, with whom we are affiliated. See Steve Cohen’s work for more on this phenomenon. Again, unopposed.

    The neutering of Chris Fox’s much-needed Autumn 08 motion against antisemitism until it said basically what you say (i.e. we are against antisemitism) without attending to the failure to recognise antisemitism, which I hope you now accept.

    Racist allegations (dual allegiance) against Jewish members.

    Mystifying and singling out of Zionism – common denominator: Jewish national self-determination – as if it were a particularly wicked and dangerous form of nationalism.

    Animus against Israel and Zionists as the defining characteristic of the Green Party’s International Committee mailing list. The circulation of David Duke there.

    Boycotting Israel when boycott pushes in the direction of prolonged occupation rather than against it, is campaigned for in antisemitic ways, and is consequently received by Jews as a hostile act.

    Rubbishing of antisemitism – treatment of antisemitism as a vexatious accusation that Zionists make. E.g. Andrew Collingwood’s antisemitism-minimising placard. E.g. Gosling disciplined for homophobia and his antisemitism is ignored.

    There is far more to antisemitism than this, but these are the forms and related phenomena which most affect the Green Party.

    Addressing these problems is what I’d say those sympathetic to Greens Engage think it means to be “committed anti-anti-semites”.

  5. Pingback: Green Rupert And The Anti-Jewish Racist. « ModernityBlog

  6. Rupert Read

    Thanks for comments. I’ll indeed be thinking more about this, no doubt.
    If you watch Oborne’s documentary, it is pretty obvious what I mean by ‘nefarious’. There’s nothing sinister about the word. It is nefarious in my view to use money to seek to stop the Conservative Party for instance from stating the obvious: that the Gaza war/massacre/collective-punishment 10-11 months ago was disproportionate. Anytime that behind the scenes financial etc pressure is used to fly in the face of important facts, then I call that nefarious. That’s all I mean.

  7. Mira Vogel Post author

    You don’t like power politics. Nor do I. But Oborne says that like any other lobby this one “has every right to operate and indeed to flourish in Britain”.

    I had a look at your blog and you are quite matter of fact about other lobbies. But when it’s a case of organised advocates (pursuing their own agendas) for Israel – in a way which is legitimate, says Oborne – you become so filled with indignation that you lose your judgement and signpost your readers to an antisemitic piece. Can’t you understand what has happened, Rupert? It’s very serious indeed.

    It’s not just you – this is in keeping with what we’re used to from the Green Party. The Green Party needs to address this weird, intense and hostile interest in Israel.

  8. Pingback: Karl Pfeifer blood libelled « Engage – the anti-racist campaign against antisemitism

  9. modernityblog

    Dr. Read,

    You are an academic, presumably in your professional function, who believes that arguments should be substantiated with either evidence or reason.

    In this case you are merely deflecting the question onto Oborne’s programme without fully answering yourself.

    That would be highly unsatisfactory if you were a student, let alone a senior academic and public politician.

    You will remember that nefarious has a very strong meaning, apart from the Oborne programme is there any other evidence that you would like to put forward concerning what you consider to be the “Israeli lobby”?

    And in doing so you might reflect on the fact that there are various lobbies in society, the oil lobby, the pharmaceutical lobby, the defence industry lobby, the banking lobby, etc all with competing power and influence yet the most important one for you (as evidenced by your reference to it, in isolation) is the “Israeli Lobby”.

    So please, as a professional philosopher,could you ponder the counter argument to your thesis for a moment?

    Or back up your remark on why the “Israeli Lobby” of all lobbies is so nefarious, in your view?

  10. schalomlibertad

    hi mira,
    thanks for the link to contested-terrain. i think however that the “zionists out of the peace movement” is even worse than your description.

    you wrote that the post is “a case of the active conflation of Zionists with Jews.” But in fact the author of the post tries to argue that he wasn’t making the inflation, but that rather his statement was about jews! usually, antizionists (those who are trying not to appear as antisemites) say “no i wasn’t conflating jews and zionists, i was speaking just of zionists,” but in this case the author was speaking of jews. even worse, in my view.


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