UCU rejects internationally recognised definition of anti-semitism

May 31, 2011 at 9:32 am (anti-semitism, apologists and collaborators, Champagne Charlie, Education, Europe, Human rights, israel, unions)

UCU conference last week.

Proposed by the National Executive Committee of the union:

70/  EUMC working definition of anti-semitism - National Executive Committee

Congress notes with concern that the so-called ‘EUMC working definition of antisemitism’, while not adopted by the EU or the UK government and having no official status, is being used by bodies such as the NUS and local student unions in relation to activities on campus.

Congress believes that the EUMC definition confuses criticism of Israeli government policy and actions with genuine antisemitism, and is being used to silence debate about Israel and Palestine on campus.

Congress resolves:

  1. that UCU will make no use of the EUMC definition (e.g. in educating members or dealing with internal complaints)
  2. that UCU will dissociate itself from the EUMC definition in any public discussion on the matter in which UCU is involved
  3. that UCU will campaign for open debate on campus concerning Israel’s past history and current policy, while continuing to combat all forms of racial or religious discrimination

Motion overwhelmingly carried,  with 4 against.

Here’s a report from one delegate.

A lesson in logic from an ex-member of UCU

Here’s a speech from a delegate:

Ronnie Fraser:

I, a Jewish member of this union, am telling you that I feel an antisemitic mood in this union and even in this room.

I would feel your refusal to engage with the EUMC definition of antisemitism, if you pass this motion, as a racist act.

Many Jews have resigned from this union citing their experience of antisemitsim.   Only yesterday a delegate here said ‘they are an expansionist people”. It is difficult to think that the people in question are anything other than the Jews.

You may disagree with me.

You may disagree with all the other Jewish members who have said similar things.

You may think we are mistaken but you have a duty to listen seriously.

Instead of being listened to, I am routinely told that anyone who raises the issue of antisemitism is doing so in bad faith.

Congress, Imagine how it feels when you say that you are experiencing racism, and your union responds: stop lying, stop trying to play the antisemitism card.

You, a group of mainly white, non-Jewish trade unionists, do not the right to tell me, a Jew, what feels like antisemitism and what does not.

Macpherson tells us that when somebody says they have been a victim of racism, then institutions should begin by believing them. This motion mandates the union to do the opposite.

Until this union takes complaints of antisemitsim seriously the UCU will continue to be labelled as an institutionally antisemitic organisation.

It’s true that anti-Zionist Jews may perceive things differently.  But the overwhelming majority of Jews feel that there is something wrong in this union. They understand that it is legitimate to criticise Israel in a way that is, quoting from the definition, “similar to that levelled to any other country’ but they make a distinction between criticism and the kind of demonisation that is considered acceptable in this union

Ronnie met with stoney silence.

What a shameful disgrace.

H/t Engage

31 Comments

  1. Sam said,

    Not entirely sure what the fuss is about here. Surely UCU has a right to determine what as a union it regards as anti-semitic? I don’t see how they are obligated to accept the EUMC version if they don’t like it.

    That said, I would like to know WHY they reject the EUMC definition – perhaps this should have been explained above?

    I’ve found two issues with the EUMC thing I’m uncomfortable with:

    1) It allows for the kind of comments and actions described to be defined as anti-semitic, even when applied to non-Jewish individuals and/or their property. I don’t understand the need for this. I don’t like the idea that my criticism of a non-Jewish individual could be termed as anti-semitic.

    2) It defines any comparison of the Israeli state to the Nazi’s as anti-semitic. I don’t think it’s ever really appropriate to compare anyone to the Nazi’s if you want to espouse a nuanced political position. BUT I don’t think anyone hyperbolic enough to do so should be condemned as anti-semitic. This seems knee jerk.

    Would appreciate any constructive criticism of my post, of course.

  2. sackcloth and ashes said,

    This has happened because those fucking brownshirts in the SWP – and their respective fellow travellers – have hijacked UCU. I want my union back.

  3. holy joe said,

    “Macpherson tells us that when somebody says they have been a victim of racism, then institutions should begin by believing them.”
    And that is precisely what the UCU is doing in response to Palestinians who say that they are the victims of the racism of the Israeli state, isn’t it?

  4. holy joe said,

    Incidentally an obscure EU committee isn’t the world so characterising this defintion as “internationally recognised” is pushing it a bit. For a long time there was an internaltionally recognised defintion of Zionism as a form of racism, in the form of a UN General Assembly resolution, but I don’t suppose you characters had any trouble rejecting that.

  5. charliethechulo said,

    In principle, I agree that the UCU (like everyone else) is under no obligation tro simply accept *any* given definition of antisemitism (or any other kind of racism). But I’d ask Sam and Holy Joe: what has the UCU replaced the EUMC definition of antisemitism with? Anything, short of individual Nazis going up to individual Jews and personally abusing them? Does the UCU Executive Committee recognise that anti-semistism can *ever* take the guise of “anti zionism” and cirticism of Israel? It would appear not: http://www.engageonline.org.uk/blog/article.php?id=1839

    The UCU is now an anti-semitic organisation. In general, I would argue that trade unionists should remain members of their union, no matter how corrupt and/or right wing it may have become become. But I have to admit that I can understand Jews leaving the UCU, an organisation that is now institutionally hostile to the majority of Jews.

  6. maxdunbar said,

    It’s pure groupthink isn’t it? They are so convinced of their anti racist credentials that they think they can define what racism is and isn’t. They will be campaigning against MacPherson and the 1976 Race Relations Act next

  7. modernityblog said,

    “The UCU is now an anti-semitic organisation. “

    Charlie,

    Might I suggest greater care with words?

    I am extremely annoyed at what has happened, yet even I do not think that the UCU are an antisemitic organisation. To be so, by definition, they would have to publish antisemitic material, but as bad as they are they do not do that.

    For example, the IHR is an antisemitic organisation, the NDP too, but UCU ain’t.

    They are guilty of institutionalised racism, which is subtly different, or not so subtly.

    They are guilty of insensitivity to anti-Jewish racism, etc but they are not in the same league as the above examples.

    So please, could you choose your words with greater care?

  8. anon said,

    At least socialists are smart enough to see this. Common liberals just drool at the mouth.

  9. charliethechulo said,

    Mod,

    I did indeed think carefully before describing the UCU as an anti-semitic organisation. The UCU does not “publish antisemitic material”, but that’s not the only criteria for reaching such a conclusion.

    The UCU now has no *definition* or serious recognition of anti-semitism. I imagine that they’d acknowledge that the descration of Jewish graves and physical attacks on Jews amount to anti-semitism, but short of that it’s a phenomenon that the UCU appears not to recognise.

    The “stoney silence” that greeted Ronnie Fraser’s speech (above) speaks volumes. Can you imagine a member of any other ethnic minority group being treated in such a manner – even if we didn’t agree with everything theyr’re saying?

    UCU’s comprehensive hostility to the vast majority of Jews (ie those who feel some degree of sympathy with Israel), its toleration of racist stereotypes (evident at the conference with references to “these people” and “expansionism” by at least one speaker, who was not reprimanded), its apparent indifference to the significant loss of Jewish members, and its demonisation of Israel (whilst ignoring countries with much worse human rights records), mark it out as an organisation that meets the Mcpherson definition of “Institutional racism”:

    “The collective failure of an organisation to provide an appropriate and professional service to people because of their colour, culure, or ethic origin. It can be seen or detected in processes, attitudes and behaviour which amount to discrimination through unwitting prejudice, ignorance, thoughtlessness and racist stereotyping which disadvantage minority ethnic people.”

  10. Sam said,

    Blimey. Overreact much Chulo?

    Did it ever occur to you that the motion might be motivated more to ALLOW criticism of the Israeli state? Yer man in the link is basically saying ALL criticism of Israel is anti-semitic. This is ludicrous. Now they may be doing it in a clumsy way, and I for one don’t support an academic boycott of Israel, but UCU activists are trying to secure the right to criticise Israeli foreign policy.

    As for “The collective failure of an organisation to provide an appropriate and professional service to people because of their colour, culure, or ethic origin”, explain how UCU has done that and you’ll get me to listen.

    • modernity said,

      “UCU activists are trying to secure the right to criticise Israeli foreign policy.”

      They do that all of the time, so WHY is this time different?

      It is acknowledged by many, many organisation that political criticism of Israel is not, I repeat, NOT antisemitism.

      The EUMC makes that point plain, so why are you confusing this issue?

      • Sam said,

        I apologise modernity, I did in fact misread that, clearly I need to take more care!

      • modernityblog said,

        Sam,

        Not a problem, but that’s why we need to be careful in these matters.

        A lot gets thrown around, which confuses things.

        On the other hand, if we were to look at consistent and semiprofessional antisemites, like David Duke, we would see that they make a point of criticising Israel.

        And this is where anti-fascism, opposition to antisemitism, antiracism cross over.

        If you take a look at No War For Israel, you will see what I mean, I covered it in 2007, http://modernityblog.wordpress.com/2007/06/22/the-boycott-smear-and-links/

        Many times there is a cross over from Hard Right material to that used by “anti-Zionists” and we should be aware of that fact.

        The Extreme Right wish to push their antisemitic propaganda, but what they do is, not do it directly, rather they use outreach programmes, intermediate web sites, which convey their message, but without the swastikas and it is surprising how many get taken in by this.

        I’ve seen a few on the Left, mistakenly, post links to David Duke’s No War for Israel, etc

        So we need to think why the Extreme Right attack Israel and what ideas are behind it. They do it with method and there are reasons.

  11. holy joe said,

    As a matter of interest, by what criteria can we distinguish “stoney silence” from other forms of silence – “respectful silence” for example?

    • sackcloth and ashes said,

      Well, in this case, try being a Jew explaining the realities of anti-Semitism on campuses to a bunch of swuppie wankers and their stooges.

  12. modernity said,

    Well Charlie,

    Let’s try and look at it slowly.

    Firstly, we need to bear in mind that terminology is critical in politics, using a faulty definition leads to confusion and misunderstanding, therefore, the choice and precision of words is critical.

    Secondly, there is naturally within politics an inflation of words. Where a problems becomes “a crisis”, a difficulty becomes “a disaster”, etc and is something we should avoid when trying to coldly look at racism and the issues that surround it.

    Thirdly, where we choose a set of words, we need to compare them to the existing meaning and existing objects.

    So the Institute for Historical Research is clearly an antisemitic organisation*, the German National Democratic Party is clearly antisemitic too as it pushes such material.

    In the US, National Socialist Movement is obviously an antisemitic organisation, also the National Alliance.

    So when you’ve found your list of broadly antisemitic organisations, you then go back to your first choice, UCU and say, how do they compare?

    Hmm, they don’t. No similarity in any way.

    And yes, I accept all that you say concerning Ronnie’s treatment. I follow this subject VERY closely, but the criteria don’t match.

    Surely, you see that?

    Please do list your criteria, then we’ll compose a list of antisemitic organisations and see what comes out of it.


    * notice the lack of hypen as as semitism, as a word does not exist.

    • modernityblog said,

      Well, Charlie?

  13. SP said,

    “but UCU activists are trying to secure the right to criticise Israeli foreign policy”.

    I am sorry but this is just nonsense. Who has ever been denied that right and by whom?

    People articulate such criticisms every day, in many forums, and certainly in the UCU.

    I have criticised Israeli foreign policy and argued about much more, including possible solutions to the “national question” for years. I have done so without ever being accused (in either good or bad faith) of anti-semitism.

    Had I been so accused, I would certainly have given those accusations some serious thought rather than talking bollocks about gagging tactics, let alone attacks on my right to free speech.

    • Sam said,

      Apologies, I made the comment on a misreading of the information, and stand corrected. I had interpreted the EUMC definition as allowing that some criticism of Israel could be construed anti-semitic.

      • SP said,

        Fair do’s Sam, no need to apologise. The “Zionist”, read Jews, stifling debate by playing the AS card is, however, such baseless nonsense I could not resist.

  14. Mr Oscar back with the shelving said,

    woT SP says.

  15. charliethechulo said,

    “Well Charlie”: I haven’t had time over the last couple of days to get my reply together, but I will do so shortly. I don’t agree with you, as your definition of “antisemitism” (OK, without a hypen I agree with you about that) suggests that only personally abusive, violent or deliberate acts can be termed as racist. This leaves out of account the Mcpherson and EOC definitions of “institutional racism” and, indeed, the legal concept of “indirect discrimination, ” neither of which necessarily involve individuals personally hating (or even consciously discriminating against) members of minority groups. Most people on the liberal/left have no difficulty grasping that when it comes to black and Asian people (and indeed women, gays and disabled people), but somehow object when the same criteria is applied in the context of Jews.

    You seem to be suggestinmg that only a Nazi or semi-Nazi individual or organisation can be antisemitic. I don’t agree. A lot of the “left” is in my view objectively antisemitic (they deny the right of Israel to exist): that doesn’t mean most individuals involved in organisations like the SWP personally hate individual Jews.

    And the UCU is *not* my “first choice” of antisemitic organisations. But it’s the one under discussion at the moment.

    • modernityblog said,

      Not a problem, Charlie :)

      Perhaps I should clarify, when we say something *is* a particular manifestation then there is a sense of permanence, a sense of absoluteness, or that’s how I see it.

      I am not suggesting, in any way, that UCU doesn’t have a problem with the issue of antisemitism, but characterising it as an antisemitic organisation is unhelpful.

      Let’s look at it in a different way.

      For example, if we were to say an organisation *is* socialist, then we would I suppose reasonably assume that socialist thinking was integral to its very existence, a mainstay.

      That if someone joined such an organisation that they would run across socialist thinking all of the time.

      Similarly, if we said another organisation is an advocate of free market capitalism, then that particular belief would probably be intrinsic to its very core and you would see it within all of its publications.

      So when there is the mischaracterisation which states “The UCU is now an anti-semitic organisation” you have to make the comparison with other organisations and other belief systems, (because when you get down to it antisemitic thinking is a belief system, albeit not a conventional one or one that we would like to acknowledge)

      That’s where it doesn’t work from me, if you join UCU you would not necessarily find antisemitism permeating all of its bodies (agreed UCU’s NEC is another question,also Congress), but as a totality antisemitism is not a core belief of UCU.

      Further, historically as far as I know (and I do tend to read a lot around this subject), I know of no organisation which was characterised as antisemitic that eventually changed and ceased to be that, went back to what we might think of as normality.

      History shows us that once an organisation *is* antisemitic that’s how it tends to remain (or until it falls apart).

      So I think that saying something *is* something, has to be used with care lest it ceases to mean something.

      Again, saying that a modern trade union *is* antisemitic, is a definitive statement, it leaves no room for change or improvement, thus should be avoided.

    • modernityblog said,

      Charlie,

      I was thinking about this and the slight difference between us (and I’d hope that it is only slight).

      Two broad points:

      1. It may be just a form of terminology, it maybe we see things differently.

      I’m trying to take a nuanced approach to this issue, to argue that there are different grades of disreputable behaviour against Jews.

      By that I mean, unconscious racism, unintentional racism, societal racism, genteel racism, habitual racism, intentional racism, hardcore racism and irredeemable racism.

      Those categories are not immutable, but hopefully illustrate the problem here.

      I think once you get down to the latter two, there is no hope. For example, there is little reason or purpose to argue with an entrenched and hardcore neo-Nazi. There is precious little benefit in arguing with an active Holocaust denier, as nothing you will say will ever change their views.

      And that’s the problem I see when you define UCU as an antisemitic organisation.

      That conveys to me that they are incurable in their racism.

      If that wasn’t what you meant, then it might just be a terminological difference between us.

      I would suggest, it is better to say that UCU is institutionally racist, as it allows for the possibility of change and improvement.

      2. I think it is helpful to differentiate between the Union structure, the political leadership in the NEC and the ordinary membership.

      In doing so it makes analysis slightly more refined and less broadbrush, but not only that, there are real differences between each of these elements.

      As far as I can see, and I’ve been following this for years, the union structure is subordinate to the political leadership, which is controlled by a minority, and on the issue of boycotting Israelis they are united.

      Conspicuously, UCU’s NEC have avoided putting any of these boycotts to the wider membership.

      They are fearful that they would be rejected by the UCU membership.

      So what you see is the manipulation of the UCU’s NEC and Congress to achieve the boycotters’ aims, which is at variance with the overall UCU membership.

      I don’t believe the overall UCU membership to be antisemitic, or anywhere close.

      Therefore, saying UCU is an antisemitic organisation is problematic in terms of the overall membership and the Union structures.

      Again, I believe we need to be careful in how we use language here, not to paint UCU as irredeemable, that’s not to say there aren’t serious problems. Clearly, they are institutionally racist, but that is a step away from arguing they are an incurable antisemitic organisation.

      By the same token we need to differentiate between parts of the organisation where there is a real problem and others less so, or even none.

      Charlie, I hope that explains it better. I look forward to your response.

  16. charliethechulo said,

    I’ve only just noticed this from ‘Holy Joe':

    “As a matter of interest, by what criteria can we distinguish “stoney silence” from other forms of silence – “respectful silence” for example?”

    That must be the single most asinine comment ever posted on this blog.

    Either ‘Holy Joe’ has never attended a public meeting in his miserable life, or he is deliberately insulting the intelligence of all of us. But either way he needs to stop being an apologist for racism and antisemitsm.

  17. holy joe said,

    “That must be the single most asinine comment ever posted on this blog”
    If that is the case, I am proud to have chalked up what must surely be a world record in levels of asininity, given the general nature of the comments on this blog, not least your own.
    “Either ‘Holy Joe’ has never attended a public meeting in his miserable life”
    It’s true that I have a rich and complex social and cultural existence, and generally find little time for attending far left cabals in the Lucas Arms. Readers can judge for themselves who enjoys the more “miserable” lifestyle. So seriously, can you explain the difference to me between these kinds of silence and how it can be discerned? What do you beliece would be an appropriate response for UCU delegates to give to the speech in question? Whoops of joy and Mexican waves?

  18. holy joe said,

    Incidentally, here’s a sane article by Tony Lerman on the background to the so-called “EU definition”
    http://antonylerman.com/2011/06/02/the-farcical-attack-on-the-ucu-for-voting-against-use-of-the-eumc-working-definition-of-antisemitism/

  19. tyresome points said,

    When they’ve done that, perhaps they can differentiate Mike Batt and John Cage.

  20. charliethechulo said,

    Ariel Hessayon, Historian at Goldsmiths, Resigns
    from UCU

    Following the recent motion at the UCU congress in Harrogate on 30 May 2011
    to reject the EUMC working definition of anti-Semitism (overwhelmingly carried),
    I have taken the decision to resign my membership of the UCU. Mine is not the
    first resignation, nor do I expect it will be the last. A number of people have
    already resigned from our Union in protest at policies that are antisemitic in
    effect (though arguably not intent). These are people with far better
    credentials as union activists and anti-racists than myself. So I do not expect
    you – and certainly no one who has been pushing these motions – to be unduly
    troubled. After all, and so far as I’m aware, we’re still waiting for an
    investigation into the reasons for the initial spate of resignations.

    For my own part, I am an historian whose research interests and writings
    include studies of attitudes towards Jews and secret Jews in early modern
    England. I have also looked at the ways in which modern histories of Jews and
    antisemitism reflect the present day concerns of their authors. Based on my
    professional expertise, I have no doubt that the politically motivated rejection
    of the EUMC working definition has antisemitic implications. Accordingly, I
    cannot in good conscience remain a member of a union that countenances the
    antics of such extremists; fanatics who seem at best oblivious and at worst
    disdainful of the consequences of their single-minded obsession: Israel. Their
    relentless promotion of a boycott of Israeli Universities – and therefore by
    extension Israeli academics – at a time when their energies would be better
    channeled dealing with the ‘bread and butter’ issues that concern the vast
    majority of our membership has succeeded only in alienating people who while
    condemning the occupation, nonetheless believe in a just two-state solution as
    the best way to achieve peace in the region. It also happens to be a fact that
    in their own way most of these people identify as Jews.

    Yours sincerely, Ariel Hessayon

  21. charliethechulo said,

    Mod: I don’t disagree with very much you say in your last comment. Obviously there are degrees of racism and the law recognises “indirect” discrimination that does not even need to be intentional. Clearly, there’s a difference between hard-core Nazis and holocaust-deniars, and people who’s “anti-Zionism” leads them to advocate boycotts or ague that Israel has no right to exist. The second group are worth arguing with whereas the first are not. But I would still describe the views of the secong group as antisemitic, perhaps adding the word “objectively.” I would agree with you that the term “institutionally racist” probably best sums up the UCU at present.

  22. modernityblog said,

    “But I would still describe the views of the secong group as antisemitic, perhaps adding the word “objectively.” “

    Charlie,

    It depends, doesn’t it?

    Now what I am going to argue would seem contradictory, but the history of anti-Zionism is complex and deserves more than a two second answer.

    I’ll try to explain it in two ways the theory and history, as brief as I can, the anomalies, and subsequent manifestations.

    1. In theory, anti-Zionism is not anti-semitism, if we accept, for the moment, that antisemitism, broadly speaking, is a hatred, loathing or animus towards Jews.

    It should, in theory, be possible to be against the establishment of the state of Israel without bearing any hatred, loathing or animus towards Jews, this is not because I say it but because of the historical record, and history when we discussing this particular topic is critically important.

    As anyone versed on this subject would know the first anti-Zionists were not members of the SWP, Russian Leninists or Chomsky culties.

    No, the first anti-Zionists were Jews.

    And this is where it gets a bit convoluted, Zionism along with its preceding belief were a radical departure for 19th century Jewry. They were a minority view in a large communities of eastern European Jewry, they ran against the currents of accepted thinking. The very idea that Jews could bring about their own state was considered by some to be heresy (and we need to bear in mind that there is a crossover here between politics, religious views and the practical realities of people’s existence).

    The first objection to Zionism was essentially religious, that Israel could not come about until the Messiah arrived, and if the Messiah had not arrived any attempt to establish Israel would be contrary to accepted religious thinking within Jewish communities.

    Therefore, in this respect, that form of anti-Zionism is not antisemitism. Once more, categorically speaking, religious anti-Zionism is NOT, in and of itself, antisemitic, as there is no hatred towards Jews, no loathing or animus involved.

    So within the historical currents of discourse in Jewry, religious anti-Zionism is one legitimate position to hold, if you accept its premises.

    Further, we need to bear in mind that until about 1940 the majority of leaders in European and American Jewry were either anti-Zionist or decidedly non-Zionist. They were, for the most part, very conservative in politics, thought and action.

    2. Then we come on to the anomaly of non-Jews taking an interest in the theoretical (and in the 19th century, they were just that abstract) discussions that took place within Eastern European Jewry.

    Up until the early part of the 20th century the debate over Zionism was essentially (with a few exceptions) an internal debate and of little concern to non-Jews. It was all about solving the predicament faced by Jews in Eastern Europe, the grinding poverty, the murderous pogroms, the restrictive laws and naked antisemitism.

    I am sure expert Leninists can fill in any gaps on this one, but essentially Jewish self-identity in the form of the Bund was seen as a competitor for the hearts and minds of Jewish workers and peasants, in the early part of the 20th century in Russia. That led to animosity between advocates of the Bund and the SDLP. Lenin saw them as Jewish nationalists in one form or another, his pamphlet of 1905 makes that very clear. http://www.marxists.org/archive/lenin/works/1905/may/31.htm

    The Bund changed over time, originally it had not been terribly concerned with Jewish nationalism or culture, but had to orientate itself to the millions of Jews in Eastern Europe. The Polish version in the 1930s became a sizeable force, although again it competed for the hearts and minds of Jewish workers and peasants, so was stridently anti-Zionist. But again not antisemitic.

    The 1920/30s changed everything, an already existing and weak Yishuv in Palestine grew as Jews migrated to avoid penury, persecution and seek a better life. Along with that migration ideas that had been debated for decades in Eastern Europe came to Palestine, “should there be a Jewish state at all” etc.

    What we tend to forget is that there were severe immigration controls across the globe, it was incredibly difficult for Jews to emigrate to anywhere in any number. Countries put up quotas and even as hundreds of thousands fled Germany and Austria, countries would only accept a few dozen here, a hundred there. Jews ended up in faraway places like Shanghai or bits of Latin America, anywhere to avoid what was obviously coming in Europe, war.

    The debates and theoretical arguments finished after WW2, and with the help of the Soviet bloc at the UN the new state of Israel was recognised. When Israel did not go over to the “socialist” bloc Soviet ‘anti-Zionism’ sprung to life, with Stalin’s hand firmly on the tiller. See the Doctor’s plot.

    It is very clear that Soviet ‘anti-Zionism’ and its later manifestations in the 1960s were antisemitic, governments persecuted Jews, just for being Jews.

    As readers are aware the Soviet Union used local Communist Party’s as disseminators for their policies, and whilst naked antisemitism was not acceptable in most Western circles in the post-WW2 period, it took on a new form, modern anti-Zionism.

    This is where the anomaly comes in, why should non-Jews have cared what Jews do or debate among themselves? It had no relevance to non-Jews.

    It is a bit like being concerned about your neighbour’s living room wallpaper and arguing with them, telling them, vigorously, what they chose was wrong and how the colour you suggest is the right one. Even though you’ve never been into their living room and don’t know what their wallpaper looks like, or really care. It is a nonsensical position.

    Very few non-Jews define themselves as against Irish nationalism, Saudi nationalism, Chinese nationalism, etc as a definitive political identity (I am excluding non nationalist anarchist for the moment), yet Western political activists will often define themselves, explicitly as anti-Zionists.

    By that I mean, they don’t specifically say they are anti-Irish nationalists, etc but they are strictly against Jewish nationalism, Zionism, which is peculiar.

    3. I think if we were to look back at the origins of anti-Zionism in Britain, for example, we would see part of it coming from the Jewish community (a legitimate debate), more from the CPGB as a proxy for Soviet policy, and later on in various Trotskyist groups in the post 1967 period taking it up as part of 3rd worldism, etc

    That probably doesn’t explain it all, and there’s a lot more theoretical works on this subject and historical texts to cover, but that’s enough for now.

    So Charlie, I think in theory it is perfectly possible not to be antisemitic and be an anti-Zionist, or least the historical record indicates such.

    However, I’ll try to touch on the practical difficulties later on.

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