No to political antisemitism at SOAS!

February 24, 2012 at 12:57 am (academe, anti-semitism, intellectuals, Jim D, Middle East, palestine, Racism)

Press release:

Launch of the New Centre for Palestine Studies at the London Middle East Institute (SOAS)

 1st March 2012 (6pm-9pm)

 We are delighted to announce the creation of a Centre for Palestine Studies at the London Middle East Institute.
 
The new Centre will be launched at SOAS on Thursday 1 March with an inaugural event to which you are warmly invited. Please join us at 6:00pm in the Brunei Gallery Lecture Theatre for a discussion on Palestine studies and stay for a reception afterwards to celebrate the launch of the Centre (7:30pm onwards).
 
This initiative brings together the considerable academic expertise on Palestine at SOAS, a body of scholarship with deep roots and a long history. At its inception, the Centre’s membership draws on about 35 SOAS academics across a wide range of disciplines, ensuring that SOAS has one of the world’s most unique concentrations of academic specialism on Palestine.
 
Speakers include:

· Hassan Hakimian, Director of the London Middle East Institute and Reader in Economics Department, SOAS, will introduce the launch and offer welcomes

· Gilbert Achcar, Professor of Development Studies and International Relations at SOAS, the first Chair of the Centre for Palestine Studies, will present the new centre and outline its perspectives.

· Karma Nabulsi, Fellow in Politics at St Edmund Hall, Oxford University and member of the advisory committee of the Centre, will speak on ‘Palestine Studies and their Future Internationally

· Ilan Pappé, Professor of History, Director of the European Centre for Palestine Studies, University of Exeter, will focus on ‘Palestine Studies in the British Academia: Past, Present and Future’

 The event is free; there is no need to register. Our website will be going live soon.

Shiraz Socialist says: note that at least two of the speakers – Nabulsi and Pappé – are on record as advocating the destruction of Israel, and are therefore political antisemites. Such people need to be confronted and denounced for what they are:  political antisemites.

A peaceful protest would seem to be in order.

115 Comments

  1. modernity's ghost said,

    “note that at least two of the speakers – Nabulsi and Pappé – are on record as advocating the destruction of Israel, and are therefore political antisemites.”

    Do words have any meaning here?

    Why do you misuse the term antisemite?

    Pappe may be a questionable historian, he may even have faulty judgement but he is NOT an antisemite.

    Unless you believe that that word has no significance.

    David Duke is an antisemite. The NPD is full of antisemites, etc

    Pappe should not be seen in the same light, unless we are in the world of third period linguistics. It is intellectual nonsense to call these silly characters “antisemites”.

    Just in case you’re unaware of the accepted shorter definition, an antisemite is someone who expresses extreme obsessions, loathing or hatred towards Jews.

    • animalizard said,

      Pappé is deeply an antisemite; if you were one of his students studying the Sephardim in Palestine, you would know about it.
      I think you should actually meet someone in person to judge, which you clearly haven’t, and obviously have no idea what it’s like to be on the opposite side of his loathing.

  2. Jim Denham said,

    Mod: I’m amazed that you seem to be unaware of the fact that political antisemitism does *not* necessitate personal hatred of individual Jews:

    http://www.workersliberty.org/node/5041

    Denying the right of Isreal to exist as a Jewish homeland is political antisemitism.

    Pappe is a political antisemite, as is Nabulsi.

    I have personally (together with Dave Hirsh) confronted Pappe and denounced him as such. He was fucked and had no coherent comeback. A supporter of Pappe reported at the time: http://www.indymedia.org.uk/en/2005/12/330347.html

    I and the political current I belong to (the AWL) have a long history of arguing this. You’ve been around, Mod: you may not agree, but why are you apparently, surprised?

    • skidmarx said,

      And still Pappe hadn’t seen it all by the time he personally witnessed two soldiers kicking the head of a Palestinian baby like a football.
      (There’s a point here that I shall leave for others to elaborate. There was some wholly inappropriate laughter from a small section of the audience)

      Was this part of your denunciation?

    • modernity's ghost said,

      Jim,

      I am happy to explain this point at great length, and why it is wrong.

      But if you are going to moan on about Pappe, etc then allow Skidmarx (who has had serious issues in this area) a platform it is a waste of time.

      You are not practising what you preach.

      You can’t in the same breath argue that Pappe should be opposed whilst allowing someone who has serious hangups about Israelis to post here.

      I would be more than happy to continue this exchange at Bob’s, as I know he does not welcome racists like Skidmarx.

      I won’t share the same blog with such people as it validates their views, or says that they are of equal validity, which they are not.

      Again, there is little point in denouncing Pappe, whilst you allow people have serious views, seriously warped views, against Israelis to post here.

      I will gladly continue this exchange at Bobs and elaborate why it is wrong.

  3. Geoff Collier said,

    Could you clarify something for me. Recently the AWL said:

    “If the option of a Palestinian state is finally scuttled by the expansion of Israeli settlements, then the only alternative will be for the Palestinians and their supporters to fight for full integration of Jews and Palestinian Arabs in a common state.”

    Does that mean that a reasonable position at some stage in the future might be to advocate a single state solution? Is a single state solution not the same as denying the right the right of Israel to exist as a Jewish homeland. Is that denial necessarily proof of political antisemitism?

  4. Innocent Abroad said,

    [2]

    Denying the right of Isreal to exist as a Jewish homeland is political antisemitism

    Presumably, Jim,you therefore regard the London Review of Books as a “politically antisemitic” magazine. How many times have you organised a demonstration outside its offices against its politics? None? So why pick on SOAS?

    You know perfectly well that Palestinians are as Semitic as Israelis. Your abuse of language puts me in mind of O’Brien in Orwell’s 1984.

    • modernity's ghost said,

      “Palestinians are as Semitic as Israelis.”

      Utter nonsense.

      This particular argument is frequently advanced from the far right (ie. “Arabs are semites, Jews are semites, I don’t hate Arabs therefore I can’t be an antisemite”, etc). Complete bollack.

      As Bernard Lewis observed in his 1986 book Anti-Semitism, Semites and Anti-Semites. I paraphrase “semite race exists as much as the Aryan race exists, if you believe it”.

      That is, if you reject the idea of the existence of an Aryan race then you should also reject spurious arguments around the existence of a “semitic” race.

      The original origin of the word, Semitic, relates to a cluster of language types and *not* an ethnicity.

      • Innocent Abroad said,

        The word, Semitic, relates to a cluster of language types and *not* an ethnicity.

        Indeed it does. And Arabic is one of them.

      • Faster Pussycat Miaow Miaow Miaow! said,

        @ Idiot Abroad

        How many times is it necessary to go through this for the thick/incurious?

        The term ‘antisemitism” was coined by Wilhelm Marr in the 1870s to characterise his anti-Jewish movement, the Anti-Semitic League. The term was used to differentiate it from previous religious anti-Judaism (Judenhass).

        His was a self-conscious racism that required that Jews be defined as a distinct race. And ‘Anti-Semitism’ had the advantage of sounding like a new, scientific concept separate from simple religious bigotry Ali Rattansi — Racism: A Very Short Introduction.

        Antisemitism has only ever meant hatred of Jews and has never had anything to do with Arabs or Arabic. It is of a piece with the toxic pseudo-scientific bullshit which divided us into ‘Caucasian’, ‘Negroid’, ‘Asiatic’ to provide a ‘scientific’ justification for imperialism and genocide.

  5. DW said,

    Read Shiraz for a few years, never commented. But equating “advocating the destruction of Israel, and are therefore political antisemites” is the single most stupid thing I’ve read here. And you repeat it in the comments “Denying the right of Isreal [sic] to exist as a Jewish homeland is political antisemitism.” I’d even be surprised if the AWL would agree with you wholeheartedly on this.

    The claim “political antisemitism does *not* necessitate personal hatred of individual Jews:” is pretty flaky too.

    One of the goals of socialism is a stateless society, I guess this excludes Israel?

  6. charliethechulo said,

    DW: “One of the goals of socialism is a stateless society, I guess this excludes Israel?”

    No, DW: what it *does* mean is that Israel should be treated in exactly the same way as the USA, Australia, Argentina…or France and the UK. When did you last hear anyone say that those nation-states have no right to exist?

    The appeal to Karl Marx’s formula of “the withering away of the state” is only ever raised, in practice, in the context of Israel/Palestine, so is an irrelevant diversion in this debate. Also interesting that many “Leninist” suddenly becoame “Luxemburgists” when Israel – and *only* Israel – is under discussion.

    Not *everyone* who foolishly, or out of desperation, calls for the destruction/”abolition”/”withering away” if Israel is necessarily a political anti-semite (Tony Judt probably wasn’t, for instance), just most. And personal hatred/dislike of Jews isn’t the issue either: just comprehensive hostility to Jewish nationalism (aka Zionism). The term “institutionalised racism” for instance, does not necessitate personal racism. Geddit?

    • Innocent Abroad said,

      Your last paragraph demonstrates the absurdity of your position. Unless, of course, you can show us an apparatus for distinguishing between the “political anti-semites” and the Tony Judts. Clue: the latter have probably noticed that the legitimcy of a given State has a lot to do with how many people were there when its founding fathers and mothers arrived.

  7. Monsuer Jelly est Formidable said,

    oh – is this the new JEW thread?

    sorry – i ned to keep up. there are so many JEW THREADS about i do not know how to spread my JEW TIME about.

  8. Monsuer Jelly est Formidable said,

    SYRIA.

  9. Monsuer Jelly est Formidable said,

    imagine if THA JEWS were doing an Assad? go on…. just for a moment…

  10. Clive said,

    ‘Anti-Semitism’ obviously does not, and never has, referred to hatred directed at people who speak a semitic language (which include, say, hatred of all things to do with ancient Assyria). It is a word which means, in English, hatred (or some other negative thing) towards Jews. The argument that Arabs are also Semites is therefore either silly or deliberately obtuse.

    But I don’t agree with ipso facto any type of opposition to Israel’s existence is anti-semitic (call it ‘political anti-semitism’. I’m entirely sure that that’s a useful term, either).

    There is an on-the-face-of-it reasonable, and often sincerely held, view that there simply is no non-racist way to accept two states. The late Steve Cohen, for instance, author of ‘That’s funny you don’t look anti-semitic’ held this view: as I once heard him, put it: ‘I don’t really see how you can be a socialist and not want a single state’. A small part of the Israeli far left has also always held this view.

    In so far as this view holds to the notion that the Israeli Jews must be peacefully persuaded to no longer want their own state, this seems to me to not be in any meaningful sense anti-semitic. But it is ridiculous; or rather, clearly, if the Palestinians must wait for the Jews to be persuaded to abandon all sense of nationhood, they might wait a long time. And it is bizarre to expect the Israeli Jews to abandon all sense of nationhood first of all nations on earth.

    The trouble is that many people who say they hold this view either don’t really only want peaceful persuasion (and want invasion and/or some kind of revolutionary war by the surrounding Arab nations, either now or in some hypothetical future), or don’t seem to realise that when, say, Hamas say they want a single state (which in their more pragmatic moments they don’t), they don’t mean the same thing. Then I think you’re talking about anti-semitism. But I think the distinction between the two versions (peaceful persuasion or not) is important.

  11. Jim Denham said,

    As usual Clive, you are 100% correct.

  12. Pinkie said,

    I’m sorry Clive, but much of what you say seems grammatically (at best) mangled. As it is, what I can retrieve from it seems that you do not support Jim D’s view of ‘political anti-Semitism’, although he does seem to support your views ‘100%’, despite holding a view you seem to criticise.

    I rather suspect that the confusion is not mine, but is something within your own group.

    I am all in favour of open debate on the left, including open debate within left groups. I look forward,however, to hearing how the AWL is at one on its views re Israel/Palestine. You can’t throw away a unique selling point, just like that, can you?

  13. Sean `The Natural' Matgamna said,

    What is apolitical anti-semitism? Natural anti-semitism. Are the non-Jewish supporters of Israel natural anti-semites as opposed to political anti-semites? Was Hitler a natural anti-semite? Do Jews bring out the natural anti-semite? Is that anti-semitic? Are you anti-semitic Jim or just a political dickhead?

  14. Clive said,

    Pinkie, I look forward to your lecture in English. I’ll concur there are a couple of mistakes, but not so bad that the meaning isn’t clear. So what the hell are you on about?

    And you might be so cynical as to think politics is about ‘unique selling points’ or whatever. For myself, life is far too short.

    • Pinkie said,

      Clive, of course I am cynical, or perhaps sceptical.

      Life is short as you say, but not so short as to not notice that notable members of a leftist group both agree and disagree about maligning other leftists, but will no own up to their differences.

      (Currently this is to do with Israel/Palestine and the concept of ‘political anti-semitism’, but who knows what’s next – the Malvinas, maybe.)

      Why shouldn’t I think that this is to do with maintaining solidarity within a small leftist group?

      As for lectures on English, I don’t presume to give them, but I do expect that ‘leading comrades’ should write carefully. It’s an obligation, isn’t it, that you should make it plain and unambiguous what you stand for?

      • clive said,

        Pinkie, if you read the AWL’s press, you will see that we ‘own up to our differences’ with each other constantly, and pretty much see it as a point of honour.

        I do normally write carefully. This post wasn’t my finest hour in terms of sentence construction, but actually you seem to have understood it. However it never occurs to me I’m writing as a ‘leading comrade’, because I am not one. You seem to think you know me, but maybe this is from a long time ago.

      • Pinkie said,

        Clive, I do not think I know you, I assume you are Clive B******, who writes or has writen on occasions for the AWL.

        I only read AWL publications on-line, I have not noted much internal discussion, perhaps you could provide links to said internal disputes?

  15. Jim Denham said,

    Pinkie: it would seem that, for you at least, holding to the same position (two states) as the PLO/Fatah and (according to all the evidence over many years) the overwhelming majority of Palestinians and progressive Israelis is a “unique selling point.”

    Your cynicism about political motivation, Pinkie, seems to be exceeded only by your ingorance of elementary facts.

    • Pinkie said,

      I do not think that the ‘two state’ position means the same thing to the very various people who propose it. The term is a political short-cut, bringing with it all kinds of problems.

      For instance, I do not suppose that the AWL is in political solidarity with the PLO/Fatah, (not that the PLO would welcome, let alone notice, the attitude of a few UK activists).

      Yes I’m cynical, can you think of any reason not to be?

  16. splinteredsunrise said,

    Jim, I notice you’ve been very quiet on the calls for Assad’s overthrow from both Al Qaeda and Hamas. Can we look forward to a post on this?

    • Faster Pussycat Miaow Miaow Miaow! said,

      There’s a handy pocket sized cut-out-and-keep political rule SS: whatever Al Qaida/Hamas/MB are for/against, I will take the opposite position. Good luck with that.

  17. holy joe said,

    “you seem to be unaware of the fact that political antisemitism does *not* necessitate personal hatred of individual Jews”
    you seem to be unaware of the distinction between “fact” and “dubious assertion made fitfully by fringe sect”
    But I am starting to get confused now. First we have this: “at least two of the speakers – Nabulsi and Pappé – are on record as advocating the destruction of Israel, and are therefore political antisemites”. The “therefore” would imply a logical relationship, one of necessity, wouldn’t it? But wait, there’s more: “Denying the right of Isreal to exist as a Jewish homeland is political antisemitism”. Pretty open and shut, then, wouldn’t you think? But cool your jets: “Not *everyone* who foolishly, or out of desperation, calls for the destruction/”abolition”/”withering away” if Israel is necessarily a political anti-semite (Tony Judt probably wasn’t, for instance), just most.” So it isn’t a necessary relationship. And then we have Clive saying “But I don’t agree with ipso facto any type of opposition to Israel’s existence is anti-semitic”, which JD professes 100% agreement with. So which is it to be then? And why does Judt get a pass while Nabulis and Pappe don’t?
    Good luck with the protest anyway – or is it a virtual protest, like that one you held against the STWC’s Libya vigil (with the implicit support of the British working class of course)?

  18. Jim Denham said,

    Geoff C (#3): Don’t know what you’re on about and would be interested to know where that “AWL” quote came from. Without knowing the context, etc, I cannot comment.

    Holy Joe: my wording in then main post was sloppy. I think I have since clarified it in the comments – including by making the point that I agree with Clive.

    Mr Sunrise (“Jim, I notice you’ve been very quiet on the calls for Assad’s overthrow from both Al Qaeda and Hamas. Can we look forward to a post on this?”); answer: Yes

    • splinteredsunrise said,

      That’s nice, Jim. I look forward to finding out why the AWL is so keen for the Muslim Brotherhood to take power in Damascus.

    • Geoff Collier said,

      My quote came from Solidarity dated 21st September 2011. It was in the article on supporting the Palestinian motion at the United Nations and it’s in bold in the original so its easy to see if you want to. I had the distinct impression that you think I made it up

  19. Jim Denham said,

    Mr Sunrise: we’re not. But we’re democrats. You may not understand that, but it’s really quite simple. We believe in democracy even if the people then make choices we don’t like. Clear now?

    Just briefy on the al Qaeda point: my guess is that their (rhetorical) call for the overthrow of Assad is an attempt:
    1/ To embarrass the “west” by drawing attention to “western” impotence in this situation;
    2/ To attempt to regain some credibility after having been entirely bypassed and sidelined by the ‘Arab Spring.’

    My attitude to the Syrian uprising is not determined by what al Qaeda (or indeed the Muslim Brotherhood) have to say about it. Is yours?

    • splinteredsunrise said,

      I’ll take your word for it, Jim. I just thought you’d reverted to your “world, listen to Gulbuddin Hekmatyar!” phase.

  20. flyingrodent said,

    Jim – Al Qaeda don’t like ME dictators or the Ba’ath because they’re secular. AQ want rule by a religious dictatorship, remember – they’re after a kind of Sunni Iran, but less touchy-feely than the Mullahs in Tehran. More hardline.

    As best I can tell, it has nothing to do with the west or even gaining credibility. Remember, not everything is about us. Quite a lot isn’t.

  21. flyingrodent said,

    My attitude to the Syrian uprising is not determined by what al Qaeda (or indeed the Muslim Brotherhood) have to say about it.

    Really? That’s pretty naive, if you ask me – the Brotherhood are certainly paying very close attention indeed to what’s going on.

  22. Jim Denham said,

    “That’s pretty naive, if you ask me – the Brotherhood are certainly paying very close attention indeed to what’s going on”; and that simply doesn’t make any sense. I don’t mean that I don’t agree (though I doubt that I do), but that it simply doesn’t make sense – it doesn’t follow logically from what it’s supposed to be a “reply” to.

    And anyway, Mr Rodent, I thought (#20) “not everything is about us.” Make your mind up!

  23. flyingrodent said,

    Well Jim, it’s like this – if you favour policy proposal (x) and there’s a high chance that (x) is going to result in a lot of very unpleasant religious nutters taking control of an entire country, you should probably go back and examine (x) in more detail.

    After all, I’ve seen charges of stupidity and self-delusion chucked at the Iranian leftists who supported the Iranian revolution in 1979. They thought they were getting rid of the Shah for something better; what they got was something significantly worse, and I’ve never seen much sympathy for their failure to anticipate what was coming. Quite the reverse, in fact.

  24. Jim Denham said,

    Well, you see, Mr Rodent, its kind of like this: there is no evidence (that I’ve seen anyway) that the Syrian uprising is controlled by Islamists, let alone al Qaeda. Inevitably, Islamists are a factor in the equation and It’s a concern and the lessons of Iran must always been remembered. But, you see, by your “logic” we wouldn’t support *any* revolution in the Arab or Muslim world, would we? Certainly not the overthrow of Mubarak. Clear now?

    • splinteredsunrise said,

      Jim, you said that about what’s now the Islamic Republic of Libya. And certainly the main organised opposition force in Syria is the MB. This has been the case for decades.

  25. Jim Denham said,

    Sunrise: of course there are problems in Libya, just as there are in Egypt. But, overall, the picture in both is positive and the possibilities vast compared with what existed before. And, of course, we can’t wish away the Brotherhood. Are you *seriously* arguing that support for democratic/revolutionary movements in the Islamic/Arab world must be witheld until the Brotherhood has been taken out of the picture? On that basis we wouldn’t have supported the overthrow of Mubarak, as everyone knew that the Brotherhood were the best-organised oppositional force in Egypt and would almost certainly be the main “winners” in the short-term. But that’s not the decisive factor for revolutionaries.

  26. flyingrodent said,

    there is no evidence (that I’ve seen anyway) that the Syrian uprising is controlled by Islamists.

    I didn’t say it was “controlled by Islamists”. I said you should take the strong likelihood that very unpleasant religious nutters might wind up taking power into account when considering what you wish for.

    This is straightforward stuff, surely.

  27. Jim Denham said,

    “I said you should take the strong likelihood that very unpleasant religious nutters might wind up taking power into account “… and I do, as does the AWL as a whole.

    Do you seriously think we don’t, Rodent?

    You were surely trying to make a more profound point than that?

    Otherwise, you’re just – you see – churning out – well – banalities.

    I mean, it’s like if you believe X and you, like, know that X has always – BUT ALWAYS – resulted in Y, then you should kinda be opposed to X because you’re opposed to Y.

    Cool, man?

    • splinteredsunrise said,

      Oh come on, Jim. You’re really just railing against the ghost of Gerry Healy, aren’t you?

  28. Jim Denham said,

    Mr World-Is-Waiting-For-The-Sunrise: if ever you feel like breaking with the habit of a lifetime, and expressing yourself in coherent language, I’ll be happy to answer.

  29. Jim Denham said,

    Geoff (#18): I haven’t (yet) had time to check your reference to the AWL’s paper ‘Solidarity.’

    I did not think, or suggest in any way, that you made that quote up: I just wanted to know the context: not unreasonable, I’d hope you’d agree.

    The AWL has *never* denied that a two state way forward for Isreal/Palestine may, at some point, become unrealistic. But:

    1/ That point has not yet been reached

    2/ It would be a tragedy for all concerned if it ever was

    3/ People who presently oppose a two-state solution are either (I’ll be blunt) stupid, or are anti-semites.

    • Geoff Collier said,

      Thanks for the clarity. It’s a tactical question then of when its OK to disagree with the overwhelming majority of the Jewish people.

  30. flyingrodent said,

    Do you seriously think we don’t (take consequences into account)?

    That’s exactly what I think, Jim. I think you make it up as you go along and retrench and revise as necessary, when events take you by surprise.

    There are countless reasons why I believe this, but I’ll save us all a lot of time by just repeating your statement that My attitude to the Syrian uprising is not determined by what al Qaeda (or indeed the Muslim Brotherhood) have to say about it.

    Like I say, maybe you should pay attention. The MB, at least, is likely to play a fairly major role in the future of Syria; AQ will, unfortunately, play some sort of role, certainly a very negative one. Plus, Hamas coming out against Assad is just plain interesting, in regional politics.

  31. Jim Denham said,

    “My enemy’s enemy is my friend” has never been a good slogan, or a good basis for working nout your allegiences. paradoxically, much of the “anti-imperialist” left *does* opeartae ion that basis.

    I’m fully aware of the dangers of the MB, but repeat:

    “… by your “logic” we wouldn’t support *any* revolution in the Arab or Muslim world, would we? Certainly not the overthrow of Mubarak.”

    OK, man?

  32. flyingrodent said,

    “… by your “logic” we wouldn’t support *any* revolution in the Arab or Muslim world, would we? Certainly not the overthrow of Mubarak.”

    As I’ve said numerous times, this isn’t what I’m saying. Support revolutions or don’t, as you like – just be clear-eyed about what’s actually going on.

  33. Jim Denham said,

    “…just be clear-eyed about what’s actually going on.”

    Ah, at last, Mr Rodent: you finally reveal the elusive hidden mystery of your almost Buddah-like wisdom and insigtfulness:

    I’d never in a million years have thought of being ” clear-eyed about what’s actually going on,” if I’d not been tipped-off by someone as perceptive and wise as you, Mr Rodent.

    Thank you for your words of wisdom, which I’d never have been able to have thought of myself without your supreme wisdom!!
    .

    • splinteredsunrise said,

      It’s more a question, Jim, of owning the consequences of your positions. Something that your tendency has proved incapable of since Sean was demanding a repartitioning of Ireland along sectarian lines some forty years ago.

  34. Jim Denham said,

    Ehh: “It’s more a question, Jim, of owning the consequences of your positions. Something that your tendency has proved incapable of since Sean was demanding a repartitioning of Ireland along sectarian lines some forty years ago”…

    Explain yourself in coherent English, Mr Sunrise, and I’ll do my best to reply.

    • splinteredsunrise said,

      I mean, given that the AWL prides itself on being a tendency of learned Marxists with a firm grip of history and geopolitics, it’s a little disappointing that you’re making much less sense than Ron Paul.

      • Monsuer Jelly est Formidable said,

        catholic. nuff sed

  35. Jim Denham said,

    Splintered: I can only repeat my previous request for you to express yourself in a language that normal, English-speaking people can comprehend. Then I’ll try to reply.

    • splinteredsunrise said,

      Dear me, Jim. This faux-naif routine does not become you.

  36. Jim Denham said,

    Geoff Collier: “Thanks for the clarity. It’s a tactical question then of when its OK to disagree with the overwhelming majority of the Jewish people”;

    Geoff: No it bloody well isn’t!

    They (Jews) have the right to self determination – the same as every other peope(s).

    Or do you disagree?

    • Geoff Collier said,

      Yes, I disagree that every other people have a right to self determination.

      So, to further clarify this – The AWL would support a one state solution if the Israelis were happy to have one. But that would be in circumstances where they have allowed too many settlements.

    • Innocent Abroad said,

      Except that the overwhelming majority of Jewish people live nowhere near Israel…

  37. Jim Denham said,

    Mr Sunrise: “This faux-naif routine does not become you”…
    I can assure your, Mr Sunrise, that I genuinely and honestly haven’t got the faintest idea what you are on about.

    • splinteredsunrise said,

      Anyway, it’s been pleasant to see you agreeing with Ismail Haniyeh’s vision for the future of Syria. That will suffice for now.

  38. Jim Denham said,

    Geoff: “Yes, I disagree that every other people have a right to self determination”.
    Explain, please.

    • Geoff Collier said,

      Well, I thought we distinguish between oppressed and oppressors for a start. Then there is the question of a people needing a common territory to have that right, as per Lenin’s Right of Nations. There’s also the issue of interpenetrated peoples, in which both sides could not exercise the right with out infringing on the other. And then there’s cases where the people are not oppressed by another power. I don’t think we saw there being a national question that required Pakistan to be separate from India for example

  39. Jim Denham said,

    Mr Sunrsie: “That will suffice for now”:

    Indeed it will.

    There’s only so much time I want spend talking to a fucking eedjit

    • splinteredsunrise said,

      Well now, that’s just rude. Especially after you’ve been so obtuse throughout this thread. Still, it’s always a pleasure.

  40. Jim Denham said,

    Geoff: are you saying that only “oppressed” people have a right to national self-determination. If so, then presumably the very moment they achieve it…they lose the right to it?!?

    “Interpenetrated peoples” is precisely the issue that two states seeks to address, through the Bolshevik programme of consistent democracy.

    Trotsky was changing his position on a Jewish state at the time of his death:

    http://archive.workersliberty.org/wlmags/wl31/jews.htm

    • Pinkie said,

      (“Trotsky was changing his position on a Jewish state at the time of his death.”

      That’s sorted, then, isn’t it?)

      This is just dancing around the issues in order to avoid the silliness of proposing that there is a potentially non-racist version of anti-Semitism, so called ‘political anti-Semitism’.

      If you strip out any anti-Semitic content of ‘political anti-Semitism’, you are left with ‘anti-Zionism’, I would have thought.

      But of course, the term ‘political anti-Semitism’ as used wants to smuggle in simple and obvious anti-Semitism as a component of anti-Zionism.

      (Yes, I know many anti-Semites call themselves ‘anti-Zionist’.)

      Anti-Zionism = anti-Semitism is the crude and objectionable view peddled by many supporters of the current state of Israel and, with all kinds of obfuscations, over-enthusiastic members of the ever-changeable AWL.

      • Innocent Abroad said,

        Thankyou. You’ve put it much better than I did or could do,

    • Geoff Collier said,

      Yes, I suppose I am saying that. I didn’t know anybody didn’t agree. You didn’t support the rights of White South Africans to their own homeland for example.

      How far have you got in persuading anyone to picket this event by the way? I see nothing on the AWL website

  41. Jim Denham said,

    “I didn’t know anybody didn’t agree.”: Oh yeah: I and the AWL do. We’ll discuss the white South Africans in a bit..

    Meanwhile, try explaining this:

    If you believe that…”…[O]nly “oppressed” people have a right to national self-determination. .. then presumably the very moment they achieve it…they lose the right to it?!?

    • Geoff Collier said,

      I see you didn’t manage to get the AWL to back your suggested picket. Did you submit the article for publication? Nothing about it in today’s Solidarity.

      Anyway, as far as I understand it the right to self determination is, for marxists, about tactics towards oppressed peoples or nations. There was no mention in Lenin’s pamphlet of self determination for Russians.

  42. Jim Denham said,

    Pinkie: “proposing that there is a potentially non-racist version of anti-Semitism, so called ‘political anti-Semitism’.”

    Pinkie: do you accept the concepts of:

    1/ Indirect race dicrimination;
    2/ Institutional race discrimination…
    ..?

    • Pinkie said,

      1/ As I understand it the concept of ‘indirect race discrimination’ is used in employment law.

      An example would be a requirement that employees should be clean-shaven. This would discriminate against, say, a Sikh who considered it a religious requirement to have a beard.

      Yes, I accept that concept.

      2/ ‘Institutional race discrimination’ is an iffy concept. As I understand it, it became current in the MacPherson Stephen Lawrence enquiry. I find it ‘iffy’ because it places the burden of racism on the ‘institution’ rather than on the individuals who acted on behalf of it.

      I can, however, see that a prevailing culture within, say, the police force can act against a proper investigation of a crime because enough people are not interested, or indeed corrupt.

      ‘Institutional race discrimination’ was a cop-out in the MacPherson Enquiry – everybody was to blame, nobody was to blame.

      So, I am not happy with the concept, it avoids identifying where the racism lies.

      I’m not sure that this has anything to do with ‘political anti-Semitism’, something to do with boosting the idea of ‘unconscious anti-Semitism’, I suppose.

      (Are these terms inter-changeable, does the latest one deliver the slam-dunk the old one failed to do? Is this blog being used as a test ground for launching dotty ideas?)

  43. Jim Denham said,

    …”self determination for Russians”: Geoff, I think you’ll find something happened in October 1917. Do you (and the SWP, of which I presume you’re still a member) oppose British, American, French or Agentinian self-determination, Geoff? If so: where is that stated?

    • Geoff Collier said,

      http://www.marxists.org/archive/hallas/works/1982/05/socwar.htm

      includes the following:
      So far as the Falklands are concerned that is all that there is to be said but, to avoid misunderstanding, it is as well to point out that, in any case, we do not unconditionally support the right of self determination. We do not, for example, concede it to the Ulster Protestants, although they are indisputably a historically formed self conscious group with quasi-national characteristics. We reject the two nations theory for Ireland and we do so because its effect is plainly reactionary and not at all on the basis of legalistic quibbling about whether or not the Protestants do or do not have this or that “national” characteristic.

  44. skidmarx said,

    Do you oppose Agentinian self-determination
    CIA,MI5 or FSB?

  45. Jim Denham said,

    “CIA,MI5 or FSB?”

    Dohh!

    Thickoes on parade, eh?

  46. Jim Denham said,

    Geoff: try answering my question, re British, American, French or Agentinian self-determination.

    • Geoff Collier said,

      Yes I do oppose the demand for self determination for British, American, French and Argentinian self-determination.

  47. Jim Denham said,

    Geoff: and also answer this: If you believe that…”…[O]nly “oppressed” people have a right to national self-determination. .. then presumably the very moment they achieve it…they lose the right to it?!?

    • Geoff Collier said,

      That’s right

  48. Jim Denham said,

    Then, Geoff, all I can say (and with all due respect) is that:

    1/ You do not understand Lenin on the national question
    2/ You should educate yourself
    3/ For someone who’s been around for a while, you are a fucking disgrace
    4/ If people as ignorant and plain stupid as you evidently are, are peoples’ introduction to the left, then no wonder we ‘re in the shit.

    • Geoff Collier said,

      People speak well of you too.

      Anyway, feel free to direct me to the literature that you think I need to read

  49. Jim Denham said,

    Geoff: “Yes I do oppose the demand for self determination for British, American, French and Argentinian self-determination”. Do that mean the REALITY of their self-determination, Geoff? In which case I think you need to explain your rather major new breakthrough in Marxist thinking on self-determination.

    And what are you doing to
    1/ Campaign against self-determination in Britain?
    2/ Explain this new position to the workers of the nations to whom you seek to deny self-determination?

    PS: how does this new policy translate to Scotland? Or are they “oppressed”?

  50. sanculottist said,

    Norman Finkelstein, Naomi Klein, Naom Chomsky, …… and, yes, even Goldstone, and now, Illan Pappe, are all anti-semetics. As, indeed, is everyone who dares to confront Zionism. What utter nonsense!
    It is like the Saudi government saying you are Islamophobe if you criticise their “magic” kingdom.

    • sackcloth and ashes said,

      Except Goldstone has now rebutted the report that went out in his name, and Finkelstein has condemned the BDS movement.

      Are they now part of the ‘Zionist conspiracy’?

      • sanculottist said,

        finkelstein’s debat with atzmon re-the bds movement is interesting. as are his views on it.
        goldstone was never even an anti-zionist and it was the pressure he was put under both internationallyl and at his home, for what was his role in a fairly balanced report, was almost criminal. he was forced to rebuke it.

      • sanculottist said,

        if political anti-semitism is newspeak for anti-zionism ….. how absurd!

  51. Jim Denham said,

    Geoff; I recommend this as a basic introduction to the issues:

    http://www.workersliberty.org/story/2011/07/14/socialists-and-national-question

    • Geoff Collier said,

      I hope you had a good trip to London for your picket. Now, I had a read of Thomas’s article. It doesn’t seem to come close to discussing our differences. Have you got any more recommendations?

  52. blerehgc ocmaomnetareyr said,

    I remember the Saucer scum working themselves up into an apocalyptic rage about the Goldstone report and their launching a typical campiagn where they sought to prove that he was a dangerous racist. As soon as he published a partial correction to his report (namely that he thought his earlier accusation of willful killing by Israeli soldiers was wrong) he suddenly became all sweetness and light in saucer scum world. Anybody would think that the corporate lawyer vermin, tory party activists, hedgefunders and hasbara operatives that run that rightwing sewer and shithole of cunts and lice and maggots (including sackcloth and ashes) had some sort of crazy fucknut agenda or some shit.

  53. Faster Pussycat Miaow Miaow Miaow! said,

    Blergggghhy

    corporate lawyer vermin, tory party activists, hedgefunders and hasbara operatives

    Don’t you know that these types are the vanguard of the revolution? If you think otherwise, you mark yourself out as ‘Strasserite scum’

  54. Faster Pussycat Miaow Miaow Miaow! said,

    • blerrgggHHHHHH CKomentaryERER said,

      Yes, that is him. I can confirm that.

  55. Jim Denham said,

    I’d have thought, Geoff that the following (from the Thomas article) is *precisely* about “our differences”:

    “The National Question has come to be seen as one of backing “good” (oppressed) nations against “bad” (oppressor) nations, with the corollary that socialist revolutionaries are distinguished from mere bourgeois nationalists by their more militant, extreme, or even revanchist advocacy of the cause of the “good” nation. It is true that the nationalism of an oppressed nation is different from the nationalism of an oppressor nation. The demand for free speech from those socially bred to deference and self-effacement is different from the same demand from those educated in the voice of command. Yet free speech is only free speech, not a guarantee that what the previously self-effacing say must be true. National rights are only national rights, not a guarantee that what the previously oppressed nation does with those rights must be ideal. Nationalism of any stripe, putting nation above class, is alien to socialism.”

    • Geoff Collier said,

      To me, that paragraph says entirely the opposite to what you suggest

      • Geoff Collier said,

        I’ll expand on that. He says that people see oppressed/good nations and oppressive/bad nations, and that although good nationalism is preferable to the bad nationalism, we are not nationalists outselves.

        Nothing about accepting the nationalism of all nations

  56. johng said,

    nice to see photographs of typical HP commentators and the kind of people shiraz socialist do business with.

  57. Jim Denham said,

    “the kind of people shiraz socialist do business with.”

    Explain yourself, Game.

    When and where do we “do business” with these people?

    While we’re at it, I seem to remember some of the people your tendency (the SWP) has most definitely “done business with”: George Galloway, Gilad Atzmon…do you really want me to continue?

    • Geoff Collier said,

      He could have meant the protests against the Al Quds March, A quick google brings up the following from 2007:-

      “Workers’ Liberty members took part in a small counter-demonstration which was initiated by David T from the website Harry’s Place”

  58. Jim Denham said,

    Occasionally finding yourself in company you wouldn’t ideally choose on a particular demo or march is not the same thing as entering into a formal pollitical alliance with, say, Galloway, or repeatedly and outspokenly defending, say. Atzmon.

    Do you understand the difference, Geoff? And why the first is almost unavoidable for people who are actively involved in politics, while the other can fairly be called “doing business with…”?

  59. Jim Denham said,

    “Nothing about accepting the nationalism of all nations”: you just don’t get it, do you Geoff? You must have struggled with Capital. It’s about “accepting” nationalism – not “supporting” it:

    “National rights are only national rights, not a guarantee that what the previously oppressed nation does with those rights must be ideal. Nationalism of any stripe, putting nation above class, is alien to socialism.”

    And, by the way Geoff: were we *wrong* to protest against the Al Quds march?

  60. Geoff Collier said,

    No, I don’t seem to get it. I suspect you might have been pissed. Would you like to make that point again?

    As for your co-operation with Harry’s Place and assorted other right wing elements, I see nothing to criticise you for. That’s your natural territory. I was just trying to help

  61. Jim Denham said,

    “Would you like to make that point again?”

    OK (for the hard-of-thinking):

    “The National Question has come to be seen as one of backing “good” (oppressed) nations against “bad” (oppressor) nations, with the corollary that socialist revolutionaries are distinguished from mere bourgeois nationalists by their more militant, extreme, or even revanchist advocacy of the cause of the “good” nation. It is true that the nationalism of an oppressed nation is different from the nationalism of an oppressor nation. The demand for free speech from those socially bred to deference and self-effacement is different from the same demand from those educated in the voice of command. Yet free speech is only free speech, not a guarantee that what the previously self-effacing say must be true. National rights are only national rights, not a guarantee that what the previously oppressed nation does with those rights must be ideal. Nationalism of any stripe, putting nation above class, is alien to socialism.”

    • Geoff Collier said,

      Its not Thomas I don’t understand. He’s clear enough. It’s you where the problem arises.

      Can you explain the meaning of your reply to my use of the the phrase “accepting the nationalism…”:You seem to be agree that “its about accepting nationalism”. Where’s the disagreement in that?

  62. Jim Denham said,

    Explain yourself coherently, Geoff, and I’ll try to reply. Glad to hear you at least understand Thomas. Do you agree with him or not? If not, why not?

    • Geoff Collier said,

      I do agree with Martin Thomas in that paragraph, I think you have misunderstood it though. I’ll explain what I think he’s saying and perhaps you can explain which point you disagree on.

      1. Nationalism is alien to socialism
      2. Socialists, however. do not treat all nationalism as equal
      3. The nationalism of the oppressed nation can be critically supported or allied with
      4. The nationalism of an oppressor nation cannot be supported

      Can you respond without pedantry?

  63. Jim Denham said,

    Geoff (hopefully, without “pedantry”): you have fundamentally misunderstood Martin’s point (to the extent of interpreting what he says as the complete *opposite* of the point he’s making!). He makes a comparison with “free speech”, to the effect that it’s a democratic demand that is indivisible:

    ” The demand for free speech from those socially bred to deference and self-effacement is different from the same demand from those educated in the voice of command. Yet free speech is only free speech, not a guarantee that what the previously self-effacing say must be true”

    In other words we recognise (or “accept”) the right of national self-determination for both “oppressed” and non-“oppressed” peoples: to do anything else would be a nonsense, meaning that as soon as a people achieved self-determination, we would oppose their having it…

    But socialists still oppose *all* nationalism in principle. Now that’s not difficult, is it?

    Lenin had a similar argument with Luxemburg (though her position was considerably better and more consistent than yours, Geoff) some time ago. I thought all this was a-b-c for educated Marxists of the Trotsky tradition.

    • Innocent Abroad said,

      Jim, that sounds like Oppositionism to me. Mind you, I’ve nothing against Oppositionism – not since I started to enter my second childhood, at any rate…

    • Geoff Collier said,

      At least I understand your point now, although I still don’t accept that Martin Thomas meant what you claim.

      Firstly, do we believe in free speech for all? I suggest that we do not. The principle of No Platform for fascists and some racists has been accepted on the marxist left as long as I’ve been aware. Indeed, the first time I remember encountering your tendency was in 1978 when you were criticising us for not implementing the principle.

      I do realise, however that words do not necessarily mean the same to everybody. For instance, a referendum at Hull University last week voted to reaffirm the following;

      “No Platform means that sabbatical officers and other members of the HUU will not share a platform in the union with any members of extremist groups and these groups will also be banned from accessing the Students’ Union building, standing in elections or forming a society in the union. The following groups would be banned under the No Platform Policy for the reason that they infringe the rights and safety of LGBT, Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic Students and Disabled students: the BNP, EDL, Combat 18, the National Front, Hizb-ut Tahrir and the Muslim Public Affairs Committee. The list could not just be sporadically added to but would have to go to referendum in order to be altered. In no way does this policy infringe of freedom of speech as these groups can still gather in public; merely HUU wishes to put the safety of its members first.”

      I don’t know what the AWL member(s) at Hull University said about that. I’d guess they, like others, had no memory of when No Platform meant actively stopping people like Harvey Proctor from speaking. However, it still doesn’t offer the same rights for all in terms of public meetings etc. I therefore don’t believe that the left does believe in free speech for all.

      Consequently I do not believe that Thomas’s analogy can be interpreted in the way you suggest. I believe he was saying that free speech for the “previously self-effacing” is something that needs fighting for irrespective of what use they put it to. Free speech for the ruling class etc is not something that need concern us, except where we see a need to oppose it.

      In the same way, I believe that we believe that that national liberation for oppressed people or nations is what has concerned marxists in the past. Lenin’s argument with Luxemberg was about this point. The rights of the Russian people were surely not an issue for Lenin. And the argument that the bolsheviks had a programme of consistent democracy does not seem relevant since that programme was replaced by one of permanent revolution in 1917. It’s a stalinist argument that there was no break.

      However, I was not asking for you to confirm that the AWl have this position. I was asking for you to show me that other tendencies treat all nations as the same. I still await direction to those texts.

  64. Jim Denham said,

    I’ll answer your points more fully in the near future, Geoff: but for now I’ll just say that I’m astonished to read that you *don’t* support “free speech for all.” Free speech is indivisible: you’re either for it or against it. Socialists (including Marxists) have traditionally been *for* it – and vigorously so.

    The whole question of “no platform” is a relatively recent deviation. you won’t read anything calling for “no platform”, even with regard to fascists, in the classic Trotskyist literature of the 1930’s and 40’s. What the early Trotskyists (like Cannon) argued for was *working class self-defence* including pre-emptive self defence, which in practice meant preventing the fascists from organising by beaking up their meetings. It had nothing to do with denying freedom of speech.

    In the 1970’s and 80’s the concept of “no platform” evolved, almost imperceptibly, from workers’ self-defence into a moralistsic argument that certain views are simply too offensive to be allowed – quite a different position to that of Cannon and co. Logically it leads to to sort of lunacy you’ll read elsewhere in the comments, in which at least one of our commenters thinks that The SWP and others with similar views on “zionism” should be no platformed for antisemitism.

    You still haven’t answered my question about national self-determination and “oppressed” peoples: if we only “support” it (actually, just *recognise* it as a right) for “oppressed” peoples, then logically shouldn’t we seek to *deny* it to them at the very moment they achieve it?

  65. Geoff Collier said,

    In response to your specific question, I thought I already answered it. However, I’ll try again. It comes to the point of our differences, I think. I suppose the answer is that I would no longer see it as important. I wouldn’t actively deny it to them though, except in the sense that I’d like to abolish all states.
    Now in terms of No Platform, I cannot see a fundamental difference between the right to free speech and civil rights in general. You seem to justify the denial of some rights to fascists, so civil rights are not indivisible for you either

  66. Jim Denham said,

    “I wouldn’t actively deny it to them though, except in the sense that I’d like to abolish all states”: good answer, Geoff. You seem to have re-thought your previous position of claiming to be opposed to self-dermination to ‘oppressor -‘ peoples:

    “Well, I thought we distinguish between oppressed and oppressors for a start. Then there is the question of a people needing a common territory to have that right, as per Lenin’s Right of Nations. There’s also the issue of interpenetrated peoples, in which both sides could not exercise the right with out infringing on the other. And then there’s cases where the people are not oppressed by another power. I don’t think we saw there being a national question that required Pakistan to be separate from India for example”

    But your rethink is welcome. We might even have reached a degree of agreement on this.

    But your comments of free speech and civil rights don’t make sense: OF COURSE we’re in favour of physically confronting fascists, and therefore at a certain level denying them their civil rights. I just don’t see how it then follows that we’re *not* in favour of civil rights as a matter of principle. It’s not their right to express themselves we oppose: it’s their right to organise.

  67. Iakovos Alhadeff said,

    The neo-nazi Golden Dawn party and why the Greek left does not confront them http://iakovosalhadeff.hubpages.com/hub/Greece-Israel-the-Arab-countries

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