Posts Tagged ‘‘Manufacturing Anti-Semites’’

Bernie Sanders and Fake Accusations of Anti-Semitism

May 2, 2016

I’ve put up today several articles on the about the controversy over anti-Semitism in the Labour party, and specifically the accusations directed at Naz Shah and Ken Livingstone, and, by extension, Jeremy Corbyn. I strongly believe that these are politically motivated by the Tories and the Blairite/Neo-Con faction in the Labour party.

The Tories have an obvious interest in smearing Labour. As Mike over at Vox Political has pointed out, it deflects attention from the fact that they’ve been running a very dirty, racist campaign of Islamophobic smears and insinuations against Sadiq Khan. Private Eye has run two separate stories on the election literature Hindus and Sikhs have had pushed through their doors in London, which seem tailored to exploit ethnic rivalries between members of these religions and Muslims. And Zac Goldsmith and Cameron have also labelled Mr Khan as a ‘radical’ and alleged that the Muslim preacher with whom he shared a platform at a speaking event was a supporter of ISIS. In fact, the Muslim preacher hates ISIS and was previously a supporter of the Tories. And the accusation that Khan is ‘radical’ seems to be calculated to play on fears of Islamic radicalism by association.

As for spurious accusations of anti-Semitism, these aren’t confined to British politics. They’ve also been made astonishingly against Bernie Sanders, who was competing against Hillary Clinton for the Democrat nomination for presidential candidate. Bernie’s Jewish. The Young Turks pointed out that he is the first Jew to come this far in the political campaign to be the next leader of his country. He has lived in Israel, and has family there. Yet because he made some criticism of the Israeli state, he was accused of anti-Semitism. Absolutely astonishing. It shows how grotesquely spurious these accusations have become. And as Uri Avnery has pointed out in his piece, ‘Manufacturing Anti-Semites’, there’s a danger that such gratuitous use of the accusation will alienate perfectly decent people, who just object to Israel’s persecution of the Palestinians, and make the term respectable through its over use.

Lobster on Politically-Motivated False Accusations of Anti-Semitism

May 2, 2016

I found this very interesting and pertinent quote from Uri Avnery’s paper, ‘Manufacturing Anti-Semites’ in Tom Easton’s article, ‘Terrorism, Anti-Semitism and Dissent’, in Lobster 47, Summer 2004: 3-8. The article’s an analysis of the role of the Neo-Cons in Britain and America, and the Israel lobby, in the invasion of Iraq and the new imperialism in the Middle East. The article’s based on four books, Covert Action: The Roots of Terrorism, ed. Ellen Ray and William H. Schaap, The Politics of Anti-Semitism, ed. Alexander Cockburn and Jeffrey St Clair, The Betrayal of Dissent: Beyond Orwell, Hitchens and the New American Century by Scott Lucas, and George Galloway’s I’m Not The Only One. He writes

Uri Avnery’s ‘Manufacturing Anti-Semites’ is a very powerful attack on the present government of Israel by one of its own citizens.

‘The Sharon government is a giant laboratory for growing the Anti-Semitism virus. It exports it to the whole world. Sharon’s propaganda agents are pouring oil on the flames. Accusing all critics of his policy of being anti-Semites, they brand large communities with this mark. Many good people, who feel no hatred at all towards the Jews but who detest the persecution of the Palestinians, are now called anti-Semites. thus the sting is taken out of this word, giving it something approaching respectability.’

In America, he says, ‘the Jewish establishment is practically straining to prove that it controls the country’. Avnery describes how in 2002 a young black congresswoman, Cynthia McKinney, ‘dared to criticise the Sharon government, support Palestinians and (worst of all) Israeli and Jewish peace groups. The Jewish establishment found a counter-candidate, practically unknown black woman, injected huge sums into the campaign and defeated Cynthia. All this happened in the open, with fanfares, to make a public example – so that every senator and congressperson would know that criticising Sharon is tantamount to political suicide.’

Easton in his paragraph quotes the absolute dominance of the Israel lobby over congress, and the disastrous effect this has had on relations between America and the rest of the world.

This theme is taken up by George Sutherland, the pen name of a ‘senior congressional staffer’, in describing what he calls ‘Our Vichy Congress’. He writes: ‘For expressions of sheer grovelling subservience to a foreign power, the pronouncements of Laval and Petain pale in comparison with the rhetorical devotion with which certain congressmen have bathed the Israel of Ariel Sharon.

After detailing several examples of the way the Israeli lobby operates, including preventing an investigation of the Israeli ‘arts students’ saga, he concludes:

‘Israel’s strategy of using its influence on the American political system to turn the US national security apparatus into its own personal attack dog – or Golem – has alienated the United States from much of the Third World, has worsened US ties to Europe among rancorous insinuations of anti-Semitism, and makes the United States a hated bully.’

Sutherland quotes the words of EU commissioner Chris Patten in The Washington Post: ‘A senior Democratic senator told a visiting European the other day: “All of us here are members of Likud now.”(p.5).

Avnery, and Israeli critics of their country’s foreign policy and maltreatment of the Palestinians, are, not surprisingly, subject to intense hostility in their homeland. In one poll, a majority of Israelis declared that those of their countrymen who defended the Palestinians should be stripped of their citizenship. Avnery also has a point about the way the cavalier use of accusations of anti-Semitism have cause the word to lose much of its sting. The Cynthia McKinney affair was reported and remarked on in the Libertarian blog, Vox Day, which is highly critical of Israel and does have a very pronounced tone of anti-Semitism.

The accusations directed at Naz Shah, Ken Livingstone and now Jeremy Corbyn are in line Sharon’s strategy of trying to silence his critics with the same accusation. And the more it’s used, the more likely it will have the opposite effect.