Is this really what Greens want to affiliate to?

This post is by Jessica Goldfinch, Norwich Green Party

A lot of organisations can start off with the best of intentions and then it seems some can morph,
over time, into something that is ugly and more worryingly, ‘acceptable’.

Racism becomes acceptable; violent words become acceptable; sharing platforms with known
racists, Holocaust denialists, annihilists and antisemites becomes acceptable. The drip-drip nature
of it allows this to become an acceptable norm. It remains unchallenged and the original cause is
muddied and becomes ugly.

This process can apply to any group and my experiences of being part of my local ‘Anti-Apartheid’
group applied to me. The goal was clear – One man, one vote. If this was achieved, the face of South
Africa would change at the very first free elections. I joined boycotts; I took part in protests; wrote
letters and joined in direct action – all good, all very innocent. Then it turned very ugly.

The anti-white racism grew, the language became violent and threatening, boycotts turned into
witch-hunting and denying opportunities for on-the-ground cooperation – I cannot speak for the
entire Anti-Apartheid movement obviously. People laughed openly about extreme violence against
white citizens. Everything ‘black’ was good and everything ‘white’ was bad. Rational thought turned
to ‘black and white thinking’ – oh the irony.

My turning point came when I found out that a blind-eye was being turned away from the internal
politics within the townships and slums. The internal punishment culture, given tacit agreement
by some known township activists – people being macheted or ‘necklaced’; women being raped;
children being abused; drug and people trafficking; inter- and intra- tribal violence; the killing of
pygmies. These are, of course sadly, common occurrences within the context of grinding poverty,
discrimination and alienation within any group – but not acceptable. There were no trials or internal
legal framework; people simply disappeared and their crimes? In a lot of instances, associating with
white people and often associating with joint peace projects.

Where is my evidence? Sadly, I’ve been unable to find documentary evidence for all my points.
This is based on verbal accounts from all sides and was talked about quite openly within our group
from people who had lived there and I was stunned to find this going unchallenged and that our
donations were not monitored, so, down the chain we were funding and supporting these violent
activities. I left.

Of course, the fall of Apartheid was a fantastic achievement but to ignore torture and abuse for the
sake of expediency and the ‘bigger picture’ is unacceptable to me. Not confronting, in a rational
way, lends tacit agreement and support. Not many groups are immune from this ‘blindsight’, the
Palestine Solidarity Campaign (PSC) and Scottish Palestine Solidarity Campaign (SPSC) included.

Sadly, the recent postings on PSC websites are not a surprise to me. It’s been building since
inception, drip-drip, unchallenged from within and so ‘acceptable’.

One can choose to trust the sources or not, but following the links within leads to the original and
makes it pretty clear.

If I’ve said it a hundred times – I do not support violence and racist practice and that includes in
Israel or any dodgy groups associated with it and I am not part of groups that do this and challenge
any internal discrimination when I see it. However, I am weary of trying to just get a fair view of
Israel in these sites. All is evil with no redeeming features.

“It’s not all of us; of course I don’t support that person…this person…you mustn’t forget the overall
cause; some of what s/he says is true; every group has it’s bad apples; just ignore them; they don’t
speak for us all;…” so says a member of the PSC? No, that was me in the 80s; sunlight came in and I
left.

Mira adds: the PSC featured quite prominently in Green Party conference promotion (for example, in the advert in Green World, the party members’ magazine). Sheffield Palestine Solidarity Campaign have an official Green Party Autumn Conference fringe on – uh-oh – September 11th. I wonder, will this fringe succumb to the temptation to ‘commemorate’ the acts of terror against US workers by attempting to implicate Israel? I wish I didn’t find it so likely – perhaps somebody could let us know. At any rate, the obviously antisemitic shoah.org are promoting this fringe. Bad company for the Green Party.

See too this on Palestine solidarity campaigning, by Aled Dilwyn Fisher.

Jess adds: Julia Bacha’s TED Talk, ‘Pay attention to non-violence

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28 thoughts on “Is this really what Greens want to affiliate to?

  1. Gone beyond pills

    You need to decide which side your on.

    Many people in these PSC style organisations and certain parts of the Green Party sail very close to the wind when it comes to Israel. The Green Party also has some idiot troofers in its ranks (and they often hold ‘strange’ views about Jews and Israel, and we all know that awful [name of party member, redacted by MV due to being a bit of a gratuitous insult] etc.

    Reply
    1. Isca Stieglitz

      It’s a tough one for a good number of Green members to answer. We can only try and challenge, choose our personal limits and at which point we choose to ‘jump off’.
      To state the obvious, the list of cities above does not look good. No doubt there are more.

      Reply
    2. Green Gordon

      Are you saying Greens should be forced out of their party by functional-anti-Semites? As there is nothing inherently anti-semitic about Green politics, I’d rather we reduce the incidence of anti-semitism in the party (and its associations) rather than reduce the number of Jews.

      Reply
      1. Mira Vogel Post author

        I think Gone Beyond and Jess might mean that at some stage you are entitled to redirect your energies where they might actually do some good.

        Personally, I am rarely convinced by this “being forced out by functional antisemites” argument. If it was my street, then I would be completely in agreement – but this is a political organisation. Voting with your feet is a valid response to strong and disturbing currents in organisations which you feel you cannot influence, which isolate you, and to which you feel you give tacit support by remaining. It would be a problem if political parties felt they could take their members for granted – they would soon become oligarchic. No loyalty to an organisation should be unconditional. If there is something your conscience can’t comfortably tolerate, you either make a difference or you leave.

        The official records of antisemitism in the Green Party are building up to embarrassing levels.

        So Gordon, I agree with you – but only while we can have a hope that there is this decent majority of the Green Party who if they were only aware of what happens under various Green Party stones, would be furious. Some of our leaders seem to assume there is this decent majority – this is why they insist on keeping their own reports and recommendations on Green Party antisemitism close to their chests, fail to act on them, and attempt to silence Greens Engage members when we draw attention to them.

        Reply
  2. Pingback: Is this really what Greens want to affiliate to? « Engage – the anti-racist campaign against antisemitism

      1. modernityblog

        One removed, such videos are to be found on *other* PSC sites (and not those mentioned by HP/the CST).

        It ain’t difficult to uncover them.

        Reply
  3. modernityblog

    Any literate member of the Greens should be able to tell the nature of Shoah.org.uk, if the red mist of ‘anti-Zionism’ didn’t cloud their senses.

    I suppose that sub-concious prejudice is the only reason as to why these awful sites are allowed (or find it permissible) to push anti-Jewish racism?

    It is staring you in the face when you click around these PSC sites, and others.

    Reply
    1. Isca Stieglitz

      Yes, it’s very interesting that it only takes a moment or two to get the ‘tone’ of these sites. So much hate; so much so I can almost feel the spittle.

      How ‘acceptable’ this has all become…again.

      Reply
  4. Steven

    Choosing to identify with the scum of the green party is like refusing to drop out of Durban 3… it makes you an enabler.

    Reply
    1. Mira Vogel Post author

      Not helpful, Steven. Nobody would say they ‘choose to identify with the scum of the green party’. And secondly there is no ‘scum of the green party’.

      Reply
    1. Mira Vogel Post author

      Gone Beyond, has it occurred to you that posting links to Green Party members who hold unfounded conspiracy beliefs, without bothering to address what they are saying, risks giving oxygen to the falsehoods?

      It has occurred to me. I allow your comment with trepidation.

      Reply
    1. modernity

      But one thing, we know from experience that those who hold the most extreme antisemitic views are by their nature conspiracy theorists, the two go together.

      So should we be surprised if those who believe all of the truther nonsense about 9/11 have anti-Israeli views too?

      Surely, they often go hand in hand?

      Reply
  5. Gone beyond pills

    Hi Mira,

    I’m not bothered in the slightest about changing Martin Deane’s mind, or of those in Norwich PSC who see the hand of Mossad behind everything from the Twin Towers to the price increase of their organic cider. I do think the Greens should be very careful who they have associating with them though…

    Besides, how do you argue against something that’s ‘unfounded’? He’s convinced and always will be. Hopefully the Green Party will boot him out and he’ll be left just spouting off in the pub about how he knows better than everyone else – if the meninblack don’t come for him first of course, seeing as how he knows the TROOF…

    I’m sure the Party don’t want someone with those beliefs who is clearly using the Party to get them across, as their public face? http://yorkshireandhumber.greenparty.org.uk/region/yorkshireandhumber/people/martin-deane-hull.html
    http://martindeane.wordpress.com/

    Reply
  6. Bella Center (@MidEstParallelU)

    A few words about “Paying attention to Non-violence.” No doubt it is a good thing that non-violence is being used in certain specific circumstances against Israeli policies. However the context is still about de-legitimizing Israel and implicitly affirming that the occupation will be overthrown rather than ended through negotiations for a 2-state solution.Non-violence needs to be part of a movement that lays the ground for a peace process, rather than the the maintenance or incitement of (mutual) hatred.

    Reply
    1. Isca Stieglitz

      Yes, having watched the video a few times I’m in two minds about all of the content too.

      I did find it interesting though that people actually on the ground were employing more peaceful approaches than counterparts faraway who purport to support them and seem to encourage the more non-peaceful groups.

      Reply
  7. Isca Stieglitz

    And an inaccurate and brief history of time from Exeter PSC, along with ‘that’ cartoon.

    I’ve always had a view of history that, on occasions, it is taken as far back as is convenient. I love it how the historical context of the now so-called ‘Jordan’ is omitted and indeed no mention of existing Arab-jews who continually lived in the area for thousands of years, (mostly under occupation and as ‘dhimmis’), and their periodic expulsions into the area from surrounding Arab lands before the British were even there.

    http://www.exeterpsc.org.uk/

    Reply
    1. modernityblog

      Isca,

      I would agree, Exeter’s PSC account is very poor history, as anyone capable of walking into their local library (should they still exist!) could see, but isn’t it to be expected?

      You would hardly get a reasoned and subtle history of British Empire and its failings from the likes of the Daily Mail or right-wing head banger, so in much the same way you are *not* going to see any intelligent commentary on the Middle East from most PSC activists.

      Their emotions and prejudices get in the way of reason, as with Daily Mail types.

      PS; You will notice that Exeter PSC are happy to use the racist, Carlos Latuff, material and I doubt that him winning 2nd prize at the Holocaust cartoon competition in Iran would have put them off?

      Reply
  8. Isca Stieglitz

    @Mod – very depressing. I’m not sure what’s worse, to know that I expect this kind of material or that people actually believe it ‘hook, line and sinker’ without any research?!

    And more from ‘Lucy Lips’…the posters ‘Robert’ et al were a bit too obvious or is it a double-bluff conspiracy?! As was explained in an earlier post, the Tel-Aviv hits came a day after the PSC sites were first highlighted; I think one of those hits might have from a couple I know who wanted to see for themselves after I’d told them about it.

    http://hurryupharry.org/2011/09/13/racist-self-abuse-from-norwich-psc/

    Reply
  9. modernityblog

    Isca,

    To me this issue seems peculiar, in the sense that people who are normally interested in a subject (any subject) tend to research it, tend to be knowledgeable about it, for the most part.

    You don’t have to agree with their judgements, but invariably those interested tend to know more, have a wider grasp of facts and the issues, be it sports, politics, environmental issues etc

    That is mostly true, except when it comes to the Middle East, where educated Westerners will frequently try to foist poor history, poorer arguments and a decidedly warped view of events on anyone that is listening.

    An example, if you notice the maps of Palestine over time what is often left out is the chunk that was given to Transjordan, I believe nearly 80% of the overall area, which is a serious omission.

    Then as you’ve pointed out the historical connections, and how it all didn’t suddenly start in 1895, etc

    So much is left out, either because people don’t know it (which is strange with access to the Internet, a virtual encyclopaedia of knowledge), or choose to leave it out because it’s inconvenient and they think they’re fooling people.

    I’m not sure why it happens, but it certainly is noticeable.

    Reply
    1. Mira Vogel Post author

      Mod, Jess, the only reason that makes any sense to me is that they have abandoned themselves to prejudice. They hate something. Whether it is the idea of Israel, or the idea of Jews, or the idea of Westerners in the Orient, or the idea of technology introduced to virgin Levant – I don’t know, and it doesn’t seem to matter, since hating any such social phenomenon with such singular intensity and false consciousness is blind and and dangerous.

      Reply
      1. modernityblog

        Agreed, Mira,

        I think it is possibly a side effect of sociatial alienation, some people need something to vent at, and that is the role that Israel plays in their lives.

        It would be a good subject for a sociological study!

        Still, all of these cackhanded omissions by the PSC’s are a bit stupid, as in the age of the Internet it is so quick and easy to check the facts.

        Reply
  10. Pingback: Zionism/Apartheid/Stalinism/Trotskyism: going off on a tangent « Anti-National Translation

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